Due to unregulated content on social media, a superior court has hinted at banning YouTube in Pakistan. The court has expressed reservations over people using derogatory language against judges with the intent to humiliate them. While humiliating and embarrassing anyone remains a serious concern and people doing that can be charged under the relevant cybercrime laws, imposing a ban will not solve this problem. Instead, the approach of banning content becomes an obstacle to identifying the root cause of the issue.
Recently, PUBG, a videogame that is said to promote violence, was banned, but little was done to understand the reasons behind this addiction among children and youth, in particular. Several other computer games promote violence, but deciding on banning a specific content, on an ad hoc basis, would never solve the real issue.
As far as banning YouTube is concerned, the approach reflects the short-sightedness of the decision-makers in the country. During the current pandemic situation, social media platforms like YouTube have become more important than ever before. Thousands of students are receiving education through YouTube while many individuals are generating their income through such online sites. Online platforms have opened a door of opportunities for individuals at a time when unemployment in the country is on the rise, and many businesses have shifted online.
We must realise that in progressive societies dialogues are encouraged, and an enabling environment is created to support such platforms. We must not push the country into backwardness, and for that, we need to stop the culture of banning.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2020.