PTA urges YouTube to unblock Dr Israr’s channel

Channel had nearly three million subscribers


Salman Siddiqui April 05, 2022
Last Friday, the video sharing platform shut down the said channel. PHOTO: FILE

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KARACHI:

 

KARACHI: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has asked YouTube to unblock the channel of the late prominent Muslim scholar Dr Israr Ahmed, arguing that his videos were for the purpose of education and not "hate speech”.

"PTA has formally approached Youtube and taken up the matter of blocking of the channel of late Dr Israr Ahmed over allegation of hate speech,” a source at the regulatory authority confirmed to The Express Tribune. “The authority has also asked the video-sharing platform to review its decision."

This unilateral shutdown of Dr Israr Ahmed’s channel raises questions about the arbitrary limits of online expression, he said.

The closed Youtube channel included videos of Dr Israr Ahmed explaining Islamic discourse including Quranic teachings and lectures on the implementation of the Islamic system in the social and cultural field. "Such videos are only intended for the purpose of educating the viewers," he said.

Read Texas synagogue gunman claiming to be Aafia Siddiqui's brother dead, FBI release hostages

Dr Israr Ahmed’s channel had nearly three million subscribers, according to a private media outlet.

Last Friday, the video-sharing platform shut down the said channel over an allegation that it carried anti-semitic comments.

"Upon review, we removed the channel belonging to Israr Ahmad for violating our hate speech policies and a further eleven videos have been removed either as a result of this circumvention or for violating our violent extremism and hate speech policies," the private media outlet quoting YouTube saying this.

YouTube also removed Egyptian scholar Wagdy Ghoniem who said that those who had “collaborated” with Nato forces in Afghanistan deserved to be punished by the Taliban.

YouTube sprang into action after the weekly newspaper Jewish Chronicle published several reports on Dr Israr Ahmed and claimed that British Pakistani Malik Faisal Akram, who took the Texas Synagogue hostage, was inspired by lectures of Dr Israr Ahmed.

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