Afghanistan unsuccessful over unblocking YouTube

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Features, Stories

By Mustafa Kazemi

Kabul (November 24) – The YouTube website has yet not unblocked by the Government of Afghanistan, opposing what an official said on Thursday, that the website will be unblocked on Saturday, Afghanistan’s first working day of the week.

It is 05:33 pm GMT in Kabul and YouTube is still not opened for viewers, athwart what government said to unblock it on Saturday, which would have lifted the ban on the video sharing website after almost two months if unblocked today.

Government of Afghanistan ordered blockage of YouTube and Google websites to prevent spread of the Anti-Islam video named “The Innocence of Muslims” published on the Internet from a user in the United States.

Google website was however unblocked after a short time in September.

The video that was published on YouTube in July this year, produced by Mark Basseley Youssef, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen, guttered Muslims to go on violent protests around the world.

The protests against the U.S. included attacks on several embassies of western & European countries by infuriated Muslims and violent demonstrations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, as well as in England, Netherlands, & Australia.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Information Technology of Afghanistan told a local newspaper on Wednesday that the ban will be lifted on Saturday.

“We have notified all the internet providers in Afghanistan to discontinue the blockage of the video sharing website on Saturday” Emal Marjan, the IT Ministry spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The blockage of YouTube on the other hand caused problems and shortage of material for those Afghans that used the website as a tool for learning and gathering knowledge.

Ahmad Jawid Shah, a medical doctor in Kabul says he relied on YouTube as a supply for videos of surgeries that helped him improve his medical skills.

“It is hard to find proper medical material in Afghanistan, and internet was a great help to us learning more. The two months ban threw us two years behind in terms of learning & increasing knowledge”, Dr. Shah said.

A large number of people in Afghanistan use internet as a tool for downloading learning material, as well as satisfying their thirst for Hollywood & Bollywood movies and music tracks.

Around 1 million of Afghanistan’s 30 million population use internet provided by 223 internet providers, according to CIA’s Afghanistan profile.

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