Anorak | Pakistan Bans YouTube, And Britons Should Be Jealous

Pakistan Bans YouTube, And Britons Should Be Jealous

by | 24th, February 2008

countdown.jpgYOU can’t watch YouTube in Pakistan.

You can’t watch Anorak TV, on-demand clips of Are You Being Served? or Barack Obama channeling Bob the Builder.

Pakistan has blocked access to YouTube because of content deemed offensive to Islam, like Danish cartoons, Benazir Bhutto speeches and, as reported, a soon-to-be-released film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which portrays Islam in a negative light.

“They asked us to ban it immediately… and the order says the ban will continue until further notice,” says Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet Service Providers.

“Users are quite upset. They’re screaming at ISPs which can’t do anything. The government has valid reason for that, but they have to find a better way of doing it. If we continue blocking popular websites, people will stop using the internet.”

“Quite upset” and “screaming”. What happens when they get upset, angry even?

Touchy Thais & Turks 

Pakistan is not alone. Thailand and Turkey have temporarily blocked access to YouTube.

Thailand became upset with clips deemed insulting to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. These clips are now edited out.

In Turkey, clips insulting former Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were ill met by the authorities. Insulting Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey, or “Turkishness” is an offence which can result in a prison sentence.

In Morocco Fouad Mortada was jailed and fined after he insulted the King of Morocco’s brother on the web. No video appeared on YouTube, Mortada’s words alone being enough.

We should debate whether the internet should be completely free of restrictions? The Anorak says it should be. In any case, it’s hard to be secretive on the web and if you do anything truly appalling Goldberg and McCann can come round and get you.

Better, perhaps, to argue as to what constitutes an insult and why royals and presidents are so easily offended. And what it says of the media in those countries?

Is Pakistani, Thai and Turkish TV so much Watercolour Challenge and Countdown weekenders? And if it is, are the over-sensitive foreigners getting a better deal than us?

Posted: 24th, February 2008 | In: Politicians Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink