YouTube does not need any kind of introduction. With 100 hours of video upload every minute, the video streaming and uploading website is one of the best sources of information on the world wide web. It’s been exactly one year since the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority decides to ban YouTube because of the release of “blasphemous content”, a video trailer of a movie Innocence of Muslims following mass unrest in fanatically religious section of the Pakistani society.
The way YouTube was banned in Pakistan makes you wonder about the real reasons of the ban. At that time PPP had the Ministry of IT along with the majority in the National Assembly. PPP, in many cases, has dubbed itself as a “liberal political party” of Pakistan. So the question remains: what were the real reasons behind banning YouTube? My personal view is that it had nothing to do with the infamous movie trailer. YouTube had become a powerful tool of citizen journalism all over the world including Pakistan. It has become a source of sham for the Pakistani government as people just to record a video of some government official taking bribe or something like that. As opposed to some biased reporting of traditional media, this new-found tool of journalism had no bias. And that was the source of real threat to the government.
The Minister of IT can be seen throwing warnings like the ban on Google and hasn’t been showing much interest in the court hearings of a case lodged by Bytes for All Pakistan, a human rights organization. They are also creating a mechanism to ensure URL-specific blockage on YouTube and thousands of other website hosting “blasphemous” and otherwise “inappropriate” content.
I am personally against any censorship on the Internet as it is a viewer’s prerogative to view or not view any website on the internet. State should not have the right to dictate an individual’s activity on the internet, a medium that has become a basic necessity for us.