ISLAMABAD - The world’s largest video-sharing website, YouTube, is now accessible throughout the country with a new PK trademark.

The Youtube PK, which is believed to be a local version, is accessible throughout the country without any proxy or VPN.

Localised versions of the website are not something new. Google’s subsidiary, Youtube, has been offering local content with an option of local language in many parts of the world.

Local version presents country-specific popular content on home page and the most watched content surface on top for convenience of other viewers. But the new PK edition is different from local pages, as all the videos available on the social website can be accessed easily, including tons of porn, hate speeches and other objectionable material. According to local laws, porn websites and hate speeches are banned and a punishable offence.

The video-sharing website was blocked in September 2012, after it refused to offload a controversial movie, “Innocence of Muslims”.

The movie sparked furious protests around the world and has been identified as a possible catalyst for a deadly attack on the US embassy in Libya and protests in countries such as Egypt, India and Bangladesh. Pakistan requested YouTube management to offload the movie, but it denied on the plea of freedom of speech.

The superior court of Pakistan, while hearing a case that the movie was hurting the sentiments of the Muslims, ruled the site should be banned until a way was found to block all blasphemous contents. Since 2012, YouTube is officially banned in Pakistan. The telecom regulator has repeatedly said that it has no expertise to filter the content as per local laws and the required equipment is very expensive. According to sources, Pakistan government and website management have reached an agreement to filter the contents.

YouTube will have a local version for Pakistan, which will show contents as per local laws, said an official. He claimed that soon all the porn and objectionable material as per local laws would be unreachable for Pakistani viewers unless they use some proxy software. The long ban on social website has been a subject of debate since many years. Many believe that the ban is counterproductive as the site is accessible with free software.

Many of the NGOs have been terming the ban violation of civil rights, while rightists’ groups believe uploading religiously controversial content is actually the violation of basic rights and falls into category of hate speech.

Local version of YouTube was launched for Pakistan yesterday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority director general told the Supreme Court yesterday. YouTube was blocked in Pakistan in September 2012, after the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of anti-Islamic film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’ which sparked worldwide protests. At that time, the top court ruled that the site should be banned until a way was found to block all blasphemous material.

PTA DG Nisar Ahmed said: “Now the YouTube has local domain, so they can remove any objectionable material from the video-sharing website.”

The court was informed that 49,899 porn websites, 10,500 blasphemous, 6000 social media pages and 10,000 proxies had been closed down in the last two years.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, was hearing suo motu notice about blasphemy and obscenity on Internet and electronic media.

The attorney general was ordered to submit a concise statement about the steps to check pornography and blasphemy on the Internet, while the PTA DG and the Pemra chairman were asked to give suggestions for its effective monitoring.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa said the Internet and the YouTube are two different subjects, adding YouTube is the medium of education, so both should not be mixed up. He said as far pornography and blasphemous materials on websites are concerned, the technical experts should come before the court to give their suggestions. He said: “Guns kill people, but they also save lives.”

PTA DG Nisar Ahmed said YouTube was informative website and helps children in education.

Justice Ejaz said: “Our concern is what is shown on YouTube and its effects on the minds of young generation. Though it is being used for education purposes, it has negative impact also.” “We have to find solution to this problem.” The judge said: “The information on Internet has to be qualified. It cannot be extended to include any nasty and nefarious material, which has potential to corrupt the minds of youth. There is a need to educate our youth. This has to be thought holistically so that the negative part of information could not spoil our young generation.”