It is a necessity to provide as many sources as we can for the people to gain information and knowledge
RAWALPINDI: It has been more than three years that YouTube was banned in Pakistan. The world’s largest video-sharing website was banned in September of 2012 because a blasphemous video was uploaded on it. Banning YouTube will not and has not made hate speech disappear from our lives. We have to accept that every culture, religious group and country have been the point of ridicule at some point during their existence. We can’t wish away bad things being said about Muslims or about Pakistanis. All kinds of material is present on the internet, but it’s our choice whether we use it for good or bad purposes. The people of Pakistan are mature enough to restrain from viewing blasphemous videos. Turning a blind eye to the rest of the world and pretending that bad things don’t exist won’t make them go away.
We can’t ignore the fact that YouTube is the largest video-sharing website in the world and is a great source of information with many people dependant on it for information, knowledge and entertainment. It is also a source of income for many. The website is the third-most visited on the web and the second-largest search engine, processing more than three billion searches a month. Just because of one video, we have banned a website that also hosts thousands of videos that actually promote Islam in a positive light.
There is a lot of religious and educational material on the website which cannot be accessed by the Pakistani public, leading them to finding other ways to access the site, such as proxy servers. There really isn’t any point in banning YouTube as people already have access to the website. As a nation, we are already far behind in terms of literacy levels so it’s a necessity to provide as many sources as we can for the people to gain information and knowledge. YouTube is the world’s digital library and we cannot ban all libraries just because one person wrote an offensive book. The government should find a way to block access to certain material within the country and not block the entire website.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.
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