Pakistan officially restored access to YouTube in the country Monday after Google created a Pakistan-specific version of the video platform. The country had banned YouTube in September 2012 for carrying a controversial film, “Innocence of Muslims,” which sparked riots across several countries, including Pakistan.
The site was allowed to operate after Google executives arrived at an arrangement with Pakistani officials Monday to block objectionable material through a localized version of its website, according to Pakistani media reports.
Under the agreement, the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) will be able to ask YouTube to remove any material it deems offensive, the government reportedly said in a statement.
YouTube runs country-specific versions of its website for 85 countries in order to accommodate local censorship laws and video-takedown requests.
Pakistan Software Houses Association Chairman Syed Ahmad told Dawn, a Pakistani daily, that restoring access to the website was a good step as YouTube was a major source of educational material and several users depended on it for updates on new technology.
While many in Pakistan have found ways to access the website through proxy servers, YouTube and Facebook have faced periodic blocks in the country over objectionable content.
In July 2012, violent protests broke out across the Muslim world after the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” was uploaded on Youtube. Protests in Pakistan grew so large that the government banned YouTube in a bid to stop access to the movie and the U.S. government ran advertisements on local television denouncing the film, hoping to ease tensions.
Following the event, Pakistan’s Supreme Court asked the ban to be extended until there were checks in place to remove such content and Google had verified that the local version of the website did not contain any known copies of the offensive material.