The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has directed that the country's ISPs to block access to the videos sharing website YouTube for allegedly featuring a blasphemous video.
However, and according to the Pakistani “Don't Block The Blog” there are two theories that could explain PTA's recent move to ban YouTube: vote rigging videos showing alleged evidence of election fraud in Karachi and a supposedly blasphemous
video disgracing Prophet Mohammed.
The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a movie trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release an anti-Koran movie portraying the
religion as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.
If you happened to be searching for a video at YouTube.com Sunday afternoon, there's a good chance your browser told you it was unable to locate the entire Web site. Turns out, much of the world was blocked from getting to YouTube for part of the
weekend due to a censorship order passed by the government of Pakistan, which was apparently upset that YouTube refused to remove digital images many consider blasphemous to Islam.
According to wire reports, Pakistan ordered all in-country Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to YouTube.com, complaining that the site contained controversial sketches of the Prophet Mohammed which were republished by Danish
newspapers earlier this month. The people running the country's ISPs obliged, but evidently someone at Pakistan Telecom - the primary upstream provider for most of the ISPs in Pakistan - forgot to flip the switch that prevented those blocking
instructions from propagating out to the rest of the Internet.
So, what happened? From everything I've read and heard, the YouTube situation appears to have been due to an innocent, if inept, mix-up, which allowed Pakistan's ISPs to effectively announce to the world that its Internet addresses were the
authoritative home of YouTube.com, and for about an hour or so, most of the rest of the world's ISPs incorporated those updated directions as gospel.
In a country where the government more or less can tell resident ISPs what to do, blocking citizens from visiting certain sites is simple: The ISPs simply tell their customers that if they're looking for a censored site, they either receive an
empty page or are redirected to wherever the ISP or government deems as an appropriate substitute destination.
Some experts are crying foul, saying this was an deliberate act of defiance or assertiveness by the nascent Pakistani government. But most seem to agree this was little more than a screw-up. Still, a nation state or other adversary could stir up
diplomatic trouble by toying with this sort of trust built into the Internet. What would our government make of it, say, if all of a sudden all traffic destined for .gov domains wound up in China or North Korea?
Marc Sachs, director of the SANS Internet Storm Center said for now the checks and balances in the system today are that the same trust that allows network providers to abuse the system can be revoked. In this latest case with Youtube, network
operators affected by the bogus update simply discarded the errant directions from Pakistan and in all likelihood told their own routers to ignore any further updates from Pakistan, at least for the time being, Sachs said.
Pakistan's telecommunications regulator said that it had lifted restrictions imposed on YouTube over an anti-Islamic video clip, but rejected blame for a cut in access to the Web site in many countries over the weekend.
The authority told Pakistani Internet service providers to restore access to the site on Tuesday afternoon after the removal of a video featuring a Dutch lawmaker who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to
inciting violence against women and homosexuals.
Officials here have described the YouTube clip as "very blasphemous" and warned that it could fan religious fanaticism and hatred of the West in Pakistan, where the government already faces a growing Islamic insurgency.
Geert Wilders, said his film criticizing the Quran will be completed this week and criticized Pakistan for its moves to block the clip: It's far from a true democracy. A real democracy must be able to bear some criticism.
People all over China are Twittering that Youtube is blocked. A quick ping through a network utility does show 100% packet loss, indicating that a block is likely in effect:
There were some videos uploaded to Youtube already about the demonstrations in Tibet, but this block will definitely throw a wrench anyone's plans to upload more. Chinese video sharing sites, which have been told to censor this kind of sensitive
content, are all still up and running.
Turkey has again blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube in response to a video clip deemed insulting to the country’s revered founding father, state-run media said.
A court in the capital of Ankara ordered the ban at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clip was disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who died seven decades ago, the Anatolia news agency said.
Turkey has banned access to Slide, a presentation application, for hosting supposedly offensive content.
Slide is one of the most popular applications on Facebook. According to the company's blog it was accused of harboring pictures and articles that are considered to be insulting to Ataturk . Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founder of modern
Turkey, and insults against him are considered an attack on "Turkishness".
However, Turkey is restoring access to YouTube after the video-sharing website removed the videos that prompted the officials to block access in the first place.
The website said that it has removed the videos a prosecutor deemed insulting to Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founding father, who established the country after collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Update: IndyMedia Blocked
31st March 2008
Access to Indymedia Istanbul inside Turkey has been blocked by Turk Telekom.
Istanbul Indymedia (
http://istanbul.indymedia.org ) has been operating in Turkey since 2003. This initiative aims to organize its own information network without disregarding the information resources both in Turkey and abroad, and to make its voice to be heard
by the masses in Turkey and abroad -despite that the internet is still a media tool which has a limited access for many people.
Indymedia can still be accessed in Turkey as follows:
By changing the DNS keys of your network connection to Open DNS servers
Update: Pandering to Turkishness
2nd April 2008
YouTube has removed several video clips that had prompted Turkish authorities to block access to the video-sharing Web site, a move the company believes will lead to a restoration of access soon.
In a statement in Turkish sent to The Associated Press, YouTube said the company reviewed the videos that led to the most recent ban on access and removed them because of their content, which violate YouTube's content policy.
A court in the capital of Ankara imposed a ban on access to the site at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clips were disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
YouTube has been blocked for most internet users in Sudan for reasons that are still unknown. It seems that ths ite is blocked on all ISPs except Canar
In line with what’s looking increasingly like a trend, Sudanese flocked to Facebook to voice their concerns in a group dedicated to the matter. The group is called
Unblock Youtube In Sudan Now and at the time of writing it has 476 members.
The reasons behind this block are still vague but the best guess may be blogger ZoulcolmX who shares
his opinion :
They don’t want someone with the opposition to [interfere with] the official story about how every Sudanese citizen supports Omar.
They don’t want us to see the documentaries that have been posted lately about the “ghost houses” created to torture individuals who didn’t support the “salvation revolution”, and with
the elections coming, they don’t want any anti-kizan* campaign, which is something not allowed on local newspapers, and the national TV is on their side 24/7, but YouTube, Facebook, and blogs give a free space for the truth, and this is
what THEY fear the most.
… * Kizan is a nickname for the National Islamic Front and the ruling party the National Congress members.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the stubborn insistence of the Turkish authorities in censoring video-sharing websites. After blocking access to YouTube for the past three months, the authorities began blocking the Paris-based Dailymotion two
days ago as well.
The two most popular video-sharing sites in Turkey are now inaccessible, the press freedom organisation said: This is a serious violation of free speech and freedom of information. We call on the authorities to restore access to these
websites and remove only the videos that are the subject of judicial orders.
Transport minister Binali Yildirim said YouTube was still blocked because those responsible for the site refused to cooperate with the Internet regulatory authority, Internet Iletisim Baskanligi, an offshoot of the Telecommunications Council that
was founded in November 2007.
Google has disabled user uploads and comments on the Korean version of its YouTube video portal in reaction to a new law that requires the real name of a contributor be listed along each contribution they make.
The rules, part of a Cyber Defamation Law, came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day. It requires that users provide their real name and national ID card number.
In response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.
We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness, said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia: It's very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance.
But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.
YouTube noted this work-around on its Korean Web site and any videos and comments contributed this way will still be seen by Internet users in the country.
The new law was rushed into force after the suicide of a popular actress in October focused attention on the problem of online bullying in the highly-connected country.
Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts.