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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 13:43 GMT
Pakistan lifts the ban on YouTube
A computer shows YouTube (file image)
Turkey and Thailand have in the past also banned access to the site
Pakistan's telecoms regulator has lifted the restrictions it imposed on video-sharing website YouTube.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has told internet service providers (ISPs) to restore access to the site, according to a spokeswoman.

Google, the owner of YouTube, confirmed service had been restored in Pakistan.

The attempt to block the site, reportedly because of a "blasphemous" video clip, caused a near global blackout of the site on Sunday.

A spokesman for YouTube told the BBC News website: "We are pleased to confirm that YouTube is again accessible in Pakistan."

It is reported that a trailer for a forthcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which portrays Islam in a negative light, was behind the restrictions.

Using religious beliefs as a reason to block websites is completely unacceptable
John, UK

The ban was instigated by Pakistan on Friday. At the time, the BBC News website's technology editor, Darren Waters, said that to block citizens from accessing YouTube it was believed Pakistan Telecom "hijacked" the web server address of the popular video site.

Those details were then passed on to the country's internet service providers so that anyone in Pakistan attempting to go to YouTube was instead re-directed to a different address.

But the details of the "hijack" were leaked out into the wider internet by Hong-Kong based provider PCCW and as a result YouTube was mistakenly blocked by other ISPs around the world.

Rory Cellan-Jones
The fact YouTube is back in action makes me revise my thoughts on the clash between governments and freedom of speech
Rory Cellan-Jones

The block on the servers was lifted once PCCW had been told of the issue by YouTube engineers.

A statement from Google said that the problems lasted for "about two hours".

"Traffic to YouTube was routed according to erroneous internet protocols, and many users around the world could not access our site," it said.

A leading net professional told BBC News: "This was probably a simple mistake by an engineer at Pakistan Telecom. There's nothing to suggest this was malicious."

IP hijacking involves taking over a web site's unique address by corrupting the internet's routing tables, which direct the flow of data around the world.

Other countries that have temporarily blocked access to YouTube include Turkey and Thailand.

How the YouTube block caused waves around the world

Pakistan blocks YouTube website
24 Feb 08 |  South Asia
Should governments block websites?
25 Feb 08 |  Middle East
Thai ban on YouTube website ends
31 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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