YouTube ban restricts rights of Pakistanis: Human rights organisation

Published: September 18, 2012
B4A Pakistan says anti-Islam film should not be allowed to form basis of systematic censorship, filtering of Internet. PHOTO: FILE

B4A Pakistan says anti-Islam film should not be allowed to form basis of systematic censorship, filtering of Internet. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Condemning hate speech on the internet in general and the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” in particular, the Bytes for All (B4A) Pakistan said it believes that banning “channels of communication [YouTube], limiting access to information platforms and steps to curtail free expression only serve to pave the way for politics-based control systems that curb the voices of individuals.”

The B4A, a human rights organisation with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies, commented on the recent ban imposed on video sharing website YouTube as per the order of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

The organisation stressed that the film should not be allowed to form the basis of systematic censorship and filtering of internet in the country.

It further stated that the blanket ban restricted the rights of Pakistani citizens, who wish to use the platform for counter-argument, expression and other educational and developmental purposes.

“This extreme step ignores the alternative, more conservative actions that were available to the government, including the issuing of a take-down notice to YouTube for the removal of specific content in Pakistan,” the B4A remarked.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Sep 18, 2012 - 9:39PM

    Please ban all Anti-Religions videos …


  • Salman
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:39PM

    Youtube has violated OUR terms and conditions hence banned in OUR country. I believe most of the Pakistanis support this decision.


  • Acorn Guts
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:40PM

    I thought GOP’s request for filtering the offensive media in Pakistan was turned down by Google? I am a what you call a ‘liberal’ but this is even where I would draw a line. It is just not acceptable to ridicule other people’s faith so callously under the cover of free speech! I support GOP for banning YouTube


  • Mj
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:42PM

    Pakistan’s action is similar to burning down a whole library if a single book contained in it is deemed offensive.


  • MirXa
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:48PM

    its a good decision. We should take all necessary steps to protest against this blasphemous act. Can’t we afford a few days ban on a website for our beloved Prophet (S.A.W).


  • Liberator
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:49PM

    Remove ban from youtube


  • A2Z
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:52PM

    For B4A, here is the policy of youtube for such hate speech
    “We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).”

    I reported a video and this is the reply which I got from youtube
    “We’re unable to identify a violation of our Community Guidelines within your recent report to our Safety and Abuse Tool”

    I hope this is enough for B4A, the so called human rights organization, which never issued any statement regarding the movie but are quick to condemn ban on youtube.

    I posted this comment earlier but ET does not publish it. I hope they will do it this time.


  • Hairaan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 10:38PM

    Poor analogy. In fact nobody is “burning the library” rather shutting down the library for few days until the “offensive book” is removed.


  • Hairaan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 10:42PM

    After all its YouTube. Not oxygen, water or food. We can surely survive without it. It didn’t exist 7 years back.


  • Furhan Hussain
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:38PM


    “I hope this is enough for B4A, the so called human rights organization, which never issued any statement regarding the movie but are quick to condemn ban on youtube.”

    Kindly read the statement before writing long, ignorant comments.

    I fully support Bytes on this.


  • Salman Arshad
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:48PM

    The ban punishes Pakistanis, instead of the perpetrator.

    Justice, in the true Pakistani sense of the word.Recommend

  • ZAS
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:54PM

    Either the writer is so naive that he/she doesnot came to know that many Govt have tried to contact Google and Youtube for removing those videos but without any response or he/she just cannot think of offending US who is their Master…

    I totally agree with A2Z about these so called Human right Organizations who only wake up when we do anything. Where were they when their masters are making mockery of our beloved Reiligion, Our beloved Prophet (SAW) in the name of Freedom of Expression!!??


  • SoAndSo
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:56PM

    Those who don’t want to use YouTube, should not!! But let those who want to use it, use it!

    If you boycott YouTube because of your love for Islam, go ahead but leave others out of it! Just because it hurts your immature feelings doesn’t mean that you should force others into not using the website as well!


  • Haroon Khan
    Sep 19, 2012 - 12:24AM

    I often use youtube for lectures on finance and so does my sister for ACCA lectures. Now we need to look for other (possibly paid) venues.

    I don’t say we ignore the film and its makers but a blanket ban on the youtube is not the right way in my opinion. If the Government of Pakistan had to take such a big action, I suppose creating a forum for this would have been more sensible.

    The forum could have a petition which could be signed by the population of Pakistan, and other hard copies of the petition could also be circulated around to get the non-internet-user to sign it as well.

    Imagine 100 million or more (if the petition is floated internationally) people demanding (1) youtube to take down the video and its copies and block the user from the website and (2) the US Government to take action against the makers of this film. I believe that would generate far better results than the violent behavior we’er showing on our streets with destruction of private and public property and blind website bans.

    We have been banning website and stuff over the years but that hasn’t stopped the miscreants from creating such content. The fact of the matter is that such content is generated every day. Just type “Prophet Muhammad is” in Google and see what kind of auto-complete hints are suggested there. This has and will always happen, and our violent and immature reactions only give mileage to such content. I’m pretty sure the creators of this film are grinning inside having made something that “shook the world”.

    In my humble opinion, we, as Muslims, should ignore such content (for the time being) and work or building a positive image of Islam in the world along with achieving great development in all areas of life at first. And once we are in a position to curb such actions, we can do it without having to resort to petty violence (like America can if someone commits and anti-American crime).

    I suppose we could all benefit from something my grandfather once told me: “Raise yourself before you raise your Ego…”


  • Haroon Khan
    Sep 19, 2012 - 12:27AM

    Honestly, I had never heard of this video until us Muslims began protesting against it. In a way, we Muslims acted as distribution agents for the makers of this film.


  • Chopper
    Sep 19, 2012 - 12:52AM

    I don’t think B4A atheists understand that majority of Pakistanis support this ban.


  • Khurram
    Sep 19, 2012 - 2:15AM

    I am searching for a film that was made in early 20th century – Jud Suess (German), the most anti-semitic ever. I want to post it on YouTube and see how long does it remain posted there.

    On a positive note, we in Pakistan can take this as a challenge and opportunity to develop our own specific software solutions, for file sharing, search engines, etc etc. like China has developed Baidu. Food for thought.


  • BLing BLing
    Sep 19, 2012 - 5:57AM

    I would rather have it banned then people hurt!


  • Sep 19, 2012 - 9:34AM

    @Haroon Khan

    I totally second your comment. We must make ourselves worth of it that the world respects our views on our religion. But I think the ban on youtube is only symbolic to protest against it. It will be opened in a few days. I think this much protest is ok and needed.


  • atif fida
    Sep 19, 2012 - 7:35PM

    PTA is a bunch of non professionals who dont know their job.what should have been donee was:

    Ban youtube.
    Ban Google search engine.
    Ban G+
    And later if u could come up with search engine of ur own,would have been welconed by us for sure.
    But what these Rahman Malik led bunch did is that they banned youtube and google Play which has nothing to do with any blasphemy.. if u say that we banned it because it was a google thing then why not google search engine??

    And mr.Rahman Malik says we are with the people and we too protest.What??govt protests??i thought government ACTS…not protest…u want jews kneel before u??well boycott the luxurious cars u sit in.boycott the iphones u buy.boycott their products…stop the Nato supply.and warn them we will boycott every country whose even a single person commits blasphemy.. Recommend

  • BazingaXD
    Sep 20, 2012 - 12:34PM

    The move to ban YouTube is totally uncalled for. Such blasphemous acts are nothing new so instead of resorting to violence and childish antics, we should try to portray the real message of Islam. People say that we should kill the maker of this movie or that it was totally justified to kill the Ameican ambassador in Syria. What I want to ask these Muslims is that where in the Islamic teachings is it written for Muslims to murder someone in cold blood, where is it written to destroy the properties of innocent people and to resort to violence for the sake of your principles. Islam is the religion of peace and our Prophet(P.B.U.H) is the most dignified human being. And it was he(p.b.u.h) who prayed for the people to taef after they injured him with stones rather than taking on the offer of Hazrat Jibrael to destroy them. And then there are we, the successors of this glorious religion. Really are we even qualified to call us Muslims? What good will it do by the banning of YouTube. Instead of calling for bans we should counter it with our own actions of peace. The only way to bring an end to such actions is by promoting our religion and its true message and this is only possible if we ourselves change the course of our actions. The anti Islamists base their opinions on what they see and hear about and by doing this we are only strengthening their beliefs and making way for further acts as this one.


  • BazingaXD
    Sep 20, 2012 - 12:41PM

    The move to ban YouTube has been totally uncalled for. Muslims all over the world are resorting to violence and extreame measures just to protest against the blasphemous movie. What I want to remind such people is this that Islam is the religion of peace and nowhere does it allow anyone to resort to voilence or to allow murder. We should try changing ourselves rather than try to mould the whole world according to our ideas. By committing such extreme measures we are just strengthening the views of anti Islamists and making way for further such acts.


  • Umair Naseer
    Sep 20, 2012 - 4:22PM

    there is an alternative for everything @Haroon Khan you can get finance lectures on Khan Academy it covers a vast variety of topics. So kindly log on to


  • strange-stranger
    Sep 21, 2012 - 9:24PM

    The way protests are taking place is in Pakistan is not right. Protest has to be peacefuly. I would suggest a more meaningful protest thought. Having said that ban on youtube by GOP is 100% justified. I am not a an extrimist but I feel frustated at the dual policies of West.
    That movie was a direct attempt to hurt a particular community “Muslims”. Still youtube believes that movie did not violate its own terms of service? Ironic. Try to post something questioning holocaust and it gets removed immediately.

    Youtube should be kept under a ban until they remove the objectionable material. I am a youtube addict but I am happily surrendering my right to information for my beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him.

    So my dear B4A you should not be concerned about the rights which me and every muslim in Pakistan is happily willing to surrender for the sake of my Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. Its a very peaceful protest. So nobody should have any problem with that. Why don’t you conduct a survey in Pakistan asking whether ban on youtube should be lifted or no before the removal of the content under discussion?


  • ASN
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:12PM

    My aged father listned to Quranic translations on YouTube everyday. Pakistani govt doesnt see other sides to this issue. As some one has mentioned before, banning youtube is like burning a library fullof books just because one of them contains something blasphemous.


  • Aaijaz
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:08PM

    I have seen that PTA had done great in the recent past. It had banned a number of websites and also videos on YouTube. The most important step i would like to mention is that PTA had made this opportunity available to all surfers to report such websites.

    In this scenario, I believe, it wasn’t necessary to ban YouTube in whole.


  • Omer
    Sep 25, 2012 - 3:58PM

    AoA. Muslims unite and make your own youtube.


  • izza
    Sep 25, 2012 - 4:38PM

    all they needed to do ws block tht specific video so it couldnt be played on youtube in pakidtan apart from that there was no need for a complete bann!! ppl use youtube to do exercises, listen to music, watch serials even listen to quran and for educational
    purposes!! either pak should provide us with such a website which they dont have the
    potentiol to make!!! then we”ll be happy otherwise we need youtube bakkk

    our bans r like so absurd!! burning down kfc?? like seriously ! french recently
    made cartoons did we stop buying french products, loreal etc are these banned?? y not then movie ws made by a jew
    right?? how about banning coca cola for once or
    johnsons baby products?? how about showing ghairat and giving amrrica bak the loans and aid we still owe them??? Recommend

  • izza
    Sep 25, 2012 - 4:43PM

    so true!! since
    the protest started the
    views on the video has increased by thousands!!@Haroon Khan:


  • kb
    Sep 25, 2012 - 7:21PM

    @haroon khan

    one ban has mae you muslim an you are preaching ivine values for the ban to be removed… just bcz u n ur sis cant study properly.. Recommend

  • MA
    Sep 27, 2012 - 3:52PM

    i conndemned the ban of youtube.its true that GOVT has deprived me from a large source of information.can i register my complain is internet and no need to block utube.millions people are wishing to unblock utube but they r silent against these terrorists.


  • Samurai
    Sep 27, 2012 - 9:18PM

    well, i was reading comments of other people on a site regarding this ban…a person wrote something very beautiful that banning youtube is just like to burn a library full of knowledge just because of one book, you think is to be condemned.
    I’d like to take us back on the day when almost everywhere in Pakistan, we saw protests, we saw masses of people, gathering in the name of Islam. But, what they were doing ? what we all were doing? Those who were in the streets burned public properties, destroyed everything that pleased them. I saw cars , bikes, burning. I saw children stealing away others belongings and running away. I just want to question one thing that did those children and most of those adults even know the name of that movie about which they were so agitated? Did they know who directed it or what was the story or script of the movie? I can rightfully say that less than 5% would have known what they were protesting about.
    All of the nation was being amused by the whosoever you call the anti-islamic countries. Now i think they have got a better plan for the next time. They would make fun of our religion and instead of being punished, they ll see our country burning and its people suffering from loss and bans.
    Now, as far as youtube is concerned, let me be very clear about it. Ok i havent used it was banned, so now does the youtube administration i feeling anything bad that me or any other or millions of users arent using their site? Did we use to pay something for its use? No! they don’t even consider this !
    Our politicians, i would like to give an applause to their cunning minds ! They always circle us up into some foolish traps and hide whatever is right. Did our Govt threaten America that Pakistan would block their Supply Lines? Did they make any such demand which would really affect those nation or countries? No! instead of making such decisions, they even didnt let our minds go to that side and spread this fuss about bans and all that.
    Keep youtube blocked for years, and it wont do anything. We as Muslims have to revive our traditions and values so that all should know what are Muslims and what their Holy personalities mean to them, what their religion means to them. So that they should never try doing such things again.
    We have to think calmly and rationally, or else we would lose what little we are left with.


  • colonel faridi
    Sep 28, 2012 - 8:17AM

    I suggest we open a website similar to youtube and do some competition as much as possible. What do you think ?


  • Bee
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:02PM

    I wish B4A publish the actual happening of the so called Holocaust on YouTube.Recommend

  • Shyleo
    Sep 29, 2012 - 2:11PM

    Assalam-u-Alekum! I wonder what Sir Syed Ahmed Khan would have said to the ban on Youtube had he been alive? We Muslims are still there where we were when the British were here in the sub-continent; don’t get modern education, don’t study English, boycott everything British because we hate the British! Sir Syed Ahmed Khan told us to get modern education, study English, learn modern skills and tools so that we can compete with and then beat the British. Expressing sentiments, venting anger and never using the brain for any long time good is all that we Muslims do best. If you have not already then please watch Steven Spielberg’s Munich. It is a historical film about how after the Palestinians killed 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics, the Israeli government first found out and then killed ALL the Muslims who were in any way involved. We must pull ourselves together and stop slapping our own faces and breaking our own jaws. What is the purpose of restricting sources of information? I have never seen the Danish caricatures; I am just a humble ummati of The Prophet pbuh. How long did the ban on Danish products last and what purpose did that serve? Now we are being asked to ban Made in USA products; and do what? start relying on our own technology? I should get rid of my i-pad, my i-phone, my laptop and do what? take out the takhti?


  • jz
    Oct 5, 2012 - 12:30AM

    we muslims love our prophet so much that we cant tolerate fun of our prophet but we love him very very much. We can do any thing to show love for him for example we can make fun of his sunnahs and avoid them by making a lame excuse…we love him as much that weecan protest at the time of friday in full hot sunny day but we cant offer friday prayer…we love his so much and show the brotherhood among us by destroying the properties of our own brothers…THINK ABOUT IT GUYS…

    On youtube i must say that youtube is a source of information for most of us…it provides a lot of information and entertainment so i dont think that youtube should be ban in Pakistan…

    majority of people who are familiar with internet are still able to use youtube by using different techniques. youtube should not be banned in the name of love of Prophet because those who are addicted of youtube are still using it and if we think that we really love our prophet then we should boycott their all products and we should make our own products that can beat them…but the problem is that we dont have any thing…

    youtube the best video website google the best search engine

    few days back i received sms in which it was asked to boycott you tube and google which i did…but the problem was that when i tried to search something i use some other search engine which was not giving result like google…so we should make our selves eligible enough and then should think of banning them…

    i look this whole incident in this way we live in a country where 3 children drowned in rawal dam and govt imposed “dafa 144” in rawal dam…how ridiculous is this thing? may be there will be a time when a road accident occurs and people get banned for taking their vehicles on road…its funny but their is every possibility of this thing…

    we are really shocked with the youtube response on removing this video but to banning youtube is not the solution…we should make videos against the maker of that film and upload it on youtube and then see what youtube say about that video…


  • Hussain Muradi
    Oct 7, 2012 - 5:45PM

    So tell me gentlemen, you show the world how tough you are by destroying your fellow Muslims belongings? On TV they showed gigantic masses of people protesting, but did they know what they were protesting against? Did any of them even know what the Internet was or what the movie was about? I highly doubt it.

    And now the ban Youtube in Pakistan. What good will that do? Just ignore the movie and carry on watching your favorite videos or ban the video itself. Let me give you an example, if one player in a Cricket team is bad, it doesn’t mean that the entire team is bad. It would have lot’s of good players who are on the top of their game.


    Oct 11, 2012 - 12:44PM

    I have serious doubts about intelligence level of our govt planners and decesion makers.80% of our population live in villages where there is no electricity.what to talk of internet .90% of our people have no access to internet. what is idea of banning YTUBE ,


  • iiiii
    Oct 29, 2012 - 10:13AM

    What do u people think banning youtube is gonna do?


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