YouTube Under Siege!!!

YouTube, the popular video-sharing website, is being taken to task by some governments who don't want freedom of expression in their countries. Coincidentally, the Pakistani government tried to block the website Sunday, causing it to be inaccessible for 2 hours worldwide.

From CNN
The outage followed a letter sent Friday evening by the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to Internet service providers, ordering them to prevent people in Pakistan from visiting YouTube.

The authority cited a "highly blasphemous" video featuring right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

The block was intended to cover only Pakistan but extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, The Associated Press cited Renesys Corp, an Internet monitoring company, as saying...

...The 3-year-old YouTube has exploded in popularity by letting ordinary people post their own videos online and watch videos that others have posted. The Web site's growth also has spawned efforts around the world to regulate it.

Authorities in Brazil, China, Iran, Morocco, Myanmar, Syria and Thailand have blocked access to YouTube in the last few years, according to Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy organization.

The countries acted after concluding that YouTube videos were subversive (China), immoral (Iran), embarrassing to well-known figures (Brazil) or critical of a country's king (Thailand), the group said.

Governments also have sought to regulate user-supplied Internet content to stymie allegations that they abuse human rights, the group said.

A few months ago, YouTube, responding to complaints, took down videos posted by an award-winning Egyptian human rights advocate that showed what he described as police abuse. About five months later, after media reports, YouTube restored his account and let him continue posting videos.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, YouTube reinstated a video showing abuse of prisoners in a Russian prison camp.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Lawyer Robert Amsterdam posted the video to YouTube in December with the explanation that the 2006 footage comes from a prison camp in Yekaterinaburg and was discovered by Lev Ponomarev, co-founder of the Moscow-based Foundation for Defense of Rights of Prisoners.

The six-minute clip includes scenes of a troop of men in camouflage uniforms and helmets marching into a building and then beating unarmed individuals with clubs. A Feb. 12 Wall Street Journal editorial-page article discussing Mr. Ponomarev and cruelty to prisoners in Russia, which appeared before the clip's removal, directed readers to the YouTube video.

YouTube removed the video last week after a user flagged it on the site as not being appropriate for all viewers. "In this case, our general policy against graphic violence led to the initial removal of a video documenting alleged human rights abuses because the context was not apparent," said a YouTube spokesman. "Having reviewed the case, we have restored the video."

It is getting a little scary out here in cyberspace...



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