Friday, November 30, 2007

YouTube on Shaky Ground

YouTube, unquestionably one of the world-wide web's most popular web sites, is in the news for the wrong reason. The web site recently disabled the account of an Egyptian man who has used the video portal to expose police brutality in his country. The man, Wael Abbas, has been successfully shedding light on a growing problem in his home country.

You can read about this situation here:
YouTube stops account of Egypt anti-torture activist.

Executives at YouTube claim that his videos cross the line as far as "graphic or gratuitous violence" is concerned.

After reading the article I couldn't help but think that YouTube is making a huge mistake. Sometimes it takes graphic images to wake people up and make a change. This guy is not out to make a quick buck on the backs of others, he is a crusader trying to better his country.

If you surf the video website, it doesn't take long to find tons of worthless garbage with little or no redeeming value. The content in the Egyptian videos is rough, but necessary.

The video that started the controversy shows a man being sodomized with a plunger by the police while in custody. Not nice stuff, but the sad reality of a corrupt system.

If YouTube had existed in Europe during World War II, would they have censored videos taken of the Nazi death camps because they were graphic? What if a YouTube member had been responsible for exposing the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq...would he or she have had her account shut down?

The leadership at YouTube, which is owned by Google, needs to reconsider their actions. This is not going to win them any popularity contests.

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