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August 8, 2013

IT minister again fails to appear in court in YouTube case

August 8, 2013

LAHORE: The minister for information technology and her secretary again did not appear before the Lahore High Court and the judge again issued notices to them on a petition challenging the ban imposed by the former government last year on the Youtube for exhibiting blasphemous material on it.
On Tuesday, the court was informed that the minister had gone to perform Umrah and later some new date should be fixed after her return.
A local NGO had filed the petition challenging the ban imposed by the former government last year on the Youtube for exhibiting blasphemous material on it. Youtube is a subsidiary website of Google.
The judge had earlier observed that it was important to understand the nature of the problem. In today’s digital age, information over the Internet could not be blocked, but it could be intelligently regulated. There are no borders or walls that can limit this information from flowing into Pakistan unless of course we shut down Internet completely and severe our links with the outside world.
Earlier, officials of the ministry and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT) submitted that blocking of all sites was not possible.
The counsel for the petitioner underlined the need for evolving a complaint strategy for resolution of grievances of the public, ensuring right to access to information as well as blockage of porno sites.
The YouTube was blocked across Pakistan on September 17, 2012 following orders by then-prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who had issued orders to impose the ban after YouTube refused to heed to the advice of the Pakistan government to remove the blasphemous film from the website.
Petitioner counsel Yasir Latif Hamdani requested the court to issue orders for reopening of the website temporarily but the court denied.
A representatives of the information ministry informed that it was a sensitive issue and the website cannot be reopened which could

cause unrest in the whole country.

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