ISLAMABAD - The government is in the process of enacting a law through the Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill, 2014, to localize YouTube, a video-sharing website, in a bid to be able to remove blasphemous contents on its site.

Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman informed the National Assembly on Friday that a draft bill is with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and hopefully it would be tabled in the parliament soon for approval.

“Once the bill is passed by the parliament and the YouTube is localized, we will be able to filter out blasphemous material from it,” she said.

She said the video-sharing website is still banned in some Muslim countries, but in those countries where it is operating, content is localized and subject to legislation.

The websites operating under the American law cannot be handled or managed locally; therefore, the legislation would help towards localization of the YouTube in Pakistan.

“Due to copyright issues and obeying US court orders, Google removed the full-length movie. However, clips of smaller length are still available,” she said.

The video-sharing website was initially blocked in Pakistan on September 18, 2012 following directives from the Supreme Court. The ban was imposed after violent protests broke out all over the country in reaction to a blasphemous film, “Innocence of Muslims,” uploaded on the website’s servers that outraged Muslims all across the world.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary Cabinet Division Raja Javed Akhlas informed the lower house that the government is proceeding for legislation in the light of the previous Supreme Court verdict.

“We are working on different options including the legislation to unblock the YouTube. We want to put in place a permanent system to keep check on blasphemous and obnoxious material on these websites,” he said.

Responding to a question asked by the PPP leader Shazia Marri, he said the government wanted to unblock the YouTube but this would be done following the directives from the Supreme Court.

He said as there is no technical method of controlling objectionable material on the video-sharing website, it had to be blocked completely in compliance with court orders.

In this situation, the Parliamentary Secretary said, an Intermediary Liability protection had to be added into existing legislation as had been done in other countries.

Amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill 2014 may facilitate the localisation of YouTube. “Once localized, they will respond to court orders from Pakistan,” he said.