YouTube launches country-specific homepage for Pakistan

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    A respite for Pakistanis, Google introduced  on Tuesday the local version of YouTube for Pakistan which will deliver country specific content.

    If you’re in Nepal, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, you’ll see a new YouTube homepage that’s customised in your local language and domain, a post on Google Asia Pacific blog read.

    YouTube is already available in Nepali, Sinhalese and Urdu, and now having country-specific homepages means we can bring you the most relevant videos in a YouTube experience tailored for you, said the post written by Gautam Anand, Director of Operations and Content, YouTube Asia Pacific.

    “With these launches, we hope to pave the way for the work of more local creators, personalities and musicians to shine on the world’s largest and most vibrant video community. To all our YouTube viewers and creators from South Asia and around the world, we can’t wait to see what you share,” he added.

    YouTube has officially been banned in Pakistan since September 2012 after a low-budget movie containing sacrilegious content sparked furious protests around the world. At the time, the country’s top court ruled the site should be banned until a way is found to block all blasphemous material. Google had removed the blasphemous movie following a US court order but its shorter versions are still available online.

    YouTube’s local version will present popular country-specific content on its home page.  While announcing the launch, Google also presented some of their favourite examples of the South Asian content that’s already available on YouTube.

    “Pakistanis love YouTube’s diverse music offerings. One of the country’s most popular YouTube channels is Coke Studio, a series of live studio-recorded music performances by artists from across Pakistan. Atif Aslam’s tribute to the magnum opus of the Sabri brothers, Tajdar-e-Haram is one their most-watched videos, clocking over 11 million views to date,” the post read.

    However, it is not yet known whether this localised version will lead to the removal of the government ban on YouTube. IT Minister Anusha Rahman could not be reached for comment.

    In March last year, the state minister for information technology (IT) said YouTube will only be accessible in Pakistan after Google allows the country to manage the video-sharing website locally for proper monitoring. Anusha Rehman had said that the legislation to localise YouTube in Pakistan was under way.