YouTube has come out with a new Pakistani version of its website with a country-specific domain name and customized content. The move may finally pave the way for the government-mandated ban on the site to get lifted.
To recall, YouTube had gotten outlawed in Pakistan all the way back in 2012. The ruling came about as a result of the site hosting the movie The Innocence of Muslims. However, unlike previous occasions when the company had been banned, the administration has not done away with the regulation yet.
The common reason given for not allowing access to YouTube is to block offensive content, particularly anti-Islamic sentiments. The Supreme Court in February last year had turned down an appeal to lift the ban in the country, claiming there was no sure-fire way to locate and remove blasphemous videos. Pakistan had even banned Facebook for two weeks in 2010 on the same grounds.
The new localized Pakistani YouTube domain name could change the current situation by letting the government have some degree of control over the content available through it. Google had announced the new site in a blog post, where it also revealed Sri Lanka and Nepal now have its own separate sites as well.
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All 3 pages will throw a spotlight on popular videos in the nation. YouTube had previously offered Nepali, Urdu and Sinhalese on its general website. Gautam Anand, the company’s Director of Operations and Content in Asia Pacific, hopes the languages combined with locally-sourced videos will help to increase the brand’s appeal among users in the nations.
Anand also hopes the shift will encourage more domestic musicians and video personalities to create original content for YouTube in their country. We’ll have to wait and see whether Google’s gambit pays off and the ban on the site does indeed get lifted in the future.