Contrasting views on restoring YouTube -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Contrasting views on restoring YouTube

The ban on YouTube has become more of a prestige issue for the government now after the website refused to entertain a request to remove blasphemous content.

The matter needs to be resolved soon to allow people to benefit from this mass resource of information and education. It isn’t justified to seal off the biggest library just because it has an objectionable book as a difference of opinion exists and we need to learn to live with it and debate over it.

YouTube is not the only source of knowledge, other websites also offer similar services and it will be shameful for Pakistan to restore YouTube without the website revisits its double standards.

These views were shared by guests at the Jang Forum on “The Future of YouTube in Pakistan”. The guests at the forum were law expert Rafay Alam, Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan Secretary General Hafiz Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer, the youngest Pakistani student to get a physics distinction, Khadeeja Niazi, and Prof Dr Anees Alam. The forum was hosted by Moayyed Jafri.

Prof Dr Anees Alam said YouTube hosts a world of information and knowledge and it is pity the nation had been deprived of such an immense source. He said libraries had all sorts of books by different authors and it wasn’t justified to seal off the biggest library just because it had an objectionable book. “YouTube gets over thee billion hits every 24 hours which shows its popularity around the globe. Lectures of extremely competent faculty from leading universities of the world are available on Youtube which our youth has now been deprived of,” he added.

Khadeeja Niazi said the whole student community was facing tremendous trouble finding resource material of highest quality like the one available on YouTube. She mentioned how she was at bay as physics lectures she was preparing vanished all of a sudden. She was of the view that the ban on it needed to be lifted as soon as possible.

Law expert Rafay Alam said Youtube catered three fundamental rights that of freedom of speech, freedom of information and right to education. He mentioned that it already had a regulatory framework against hate speech and mostly entertained requests and complains. He said the government of Pakistan approached Youtube with the same intent, however, their complaint was not entertained which rather an embarrassing situation for the government was responding to which the ban was imposed. The continuation of the ban, he said, is now in a way become an issue of national and governmental prestige as lifting the ban without any reconsideration from YouTube administration would make the government look bad. Considering the commercial side of affairs, the entertainment industry especially the Pakistani music industry has suffered the most due to this ban, he added.

Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan Secretary General Hafiz Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer said YouTube was not the only source of information and knowledge on the internet and terming its ban a holistic ban on information was gross exaggeration. He mentioned that at a time when the global trend of respect was increasing YouTube was becoming part of a smear campaign which could not be tolerated. He was of the view that by not entertaining the demand of Muslims, YouTube had sent a clear message that it deemed the large community as dispensable and insignificant. “Therefore, it will be shame if Pakistan restores Youtube unconditionally without it revisiting its double standards. This serves as an opportunity and motivation for Muslims to develop their own platforms of information of this sort,” he added.

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