ISLAMABAD - Despite all the efforts of the government, a localized version of YouTube may not be in sight till 2015 because the prevention of electronic crimes bill would become applicable in June 2014 and only after that the website would consider launching a localised version if it finds it feasible in terms of business.
YouTube is banned in Pakistan for a long time due to the blasphemous content uploaded by an American filmmaker which the site had refused to remove saying it was against its policy.
The government and its departments earlier tried to block the sacrilegious content, but not the site. However when they could not block the blasphemous content they ultimately blocked the site to avoid riots in the country.
The government has tried to reopen the website since, but has not been able to do so. The government asked the website to remove the content as it wanted to reopen the site, but it refused and instead asked the government to do legislation that could secure the site against any controversial material uploaded by anybody.
The representatives of the site told the government if they decide to launch a localised version in Pakistan, in that case they would be bound to remove any blasphemous material from it on the request of the government of Pakistan, but that would be removed only from the localised version and not from the main site.
After several months of working the government prepared the draft bill called “prevention of electronic crimes bill” and then held a meeting with the Google and YouTube to convince them for a localised version for Pakistan.
In that meeting the site did not commit to launch a localised version, and said it would prepare the feasibility that whether or not the site could launch a localised version in Pakistan.
It may be mentioned here that the electronic crimes bill does not just aim to facilitate YouTube, but otherwise as well was a requirement to take action against cyber crimes. The bill as per State Minister Anushey Rehman would be applicable in June this year.
Sources said until and unless the bill was applicable, no site was going to launch its localised version in the country. “Even if the bill is enacted in June and the site decides to launch a localised version that is not going to happen before early 2015.
Sources further said as far as it was about opening of YouTube or launching a localised version of the site, it was just a political matter; otherwise each Pakistani had access to YouTube at present through certain software that could unblock the content blocked by the government.