For Immediate Release

Islamabad 21/04/2014: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously passed a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Afrasiab Khattak had earlier tabled a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube but it did not make it to the Senate’s agenda. Today, the committee unanimously passed the resolution. During the committee session,  Senator Khattak mentioned the PTA Chairman had appeared before the committee and submitted his comments on the YouTube ban earlier. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, citing PTA Chairman’s statement said no filtering mechanism could ensure blocking of all objectionable content online 100%. Senator Hussain also pointed out no other Muslim country has banned YouTube, not even Saudi Arabia.

Bolo Bhi’s request for a public hearing on Internet censorship and the YouTube ban was put before the committee by Senator Hussain, which was accepted by Senator Khattak and scheduled for May 5 (more details soon).  Even though the resolution could not be tabled as was the intention, since the day’s proceedings were devoted to condemning the attack on renowned journalist, Hamid Mir. Nevertheless, Senator Hussain raised the matter on the floor of the house, mentioning the unanimous passage of the resolution to bring it to their knowledge.

Bolo Bhi welcomes the resolution by the Human Rights committee which recognizes citizens’ right to information and access on the Internet.  We thank the members of the Senate Human Rights Committee for their unanimous support towards lifting the ban on YouTube in Pakistan. We are especially grateful to Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and Senator Afrasiab Khattak for their constant support in raising the issue.

Contact: farieha@bolobhi.org & sana@bolobhi.org
Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit  registered under the Societies Act XXI of 1860. Bolo Bhi is geared towards gender rights, government transparency, internet access, digital security and privacy. We are a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds who are passionate about the same causes and believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus.