A storm is brewing in the Egyptian blogosphere after video hosting site YouTube removed several videos featuring policemen torturing victims from their site.
“This is by far the biggest blow to the anti-torture movement in Egypt,” writes Wael Abbas, an award winning blogger, whose videos capturing the torture of victims at the hands of police were removed from YouTube.
Warning: This video contains graphic images which may not be suitable for all viewers
Abbas (Ar) further explains:
وقد ادعى موقع يوتيوب بان وصلته كثير من الشكاوى بشان هذا المحتوى
وانا الآن في حالة صدمة مما حدث وأحاول معرفة أسبابه
وقد راسلت الموقع في إنتظار التوضيح
لكن كل الإحتمالات قائمة
شكاوى كيدية من النظام المصري خصوصا بعد صفعة حبس إسلام نبيه
تعاون بين يوتيوب والنظام المصري في ظل صفقة ما خصوصا وأن يوتيوب مملوكة لشركة جوجل
فهل هو خطأ يمكن إصلاحه
أم أن يوتيوب أصبحت تدعم التعذيب وتتستر على فاعليه وتتعاون مع الحكومات الديكتاتورية
وفي النهاية أقول أن هذه كارثة كبري
ليس لي فقط ولكن لكم جميعا مدونين وقراء ونشطاء
وأطلب منكم جميعا الوقوف معي
Blogger Hossam El Hamalawy chimes in, describing the removal of the videos as a “unbelievable”. He adds:
YouTube has just disabled probably the most important channel for the Egyptian blogosphere. Wael’s videos have been central in the fight against police brutality, and YouTube should be proud the Egyptian anti-torture activists have been using its channels in the current War on Torture… but instead, the YouTube administrators played a cat-and-mouse game with us.
El Hamalawy also suggests moving to other hosting sites to continue the anti-torture battle. He writes:
It’s necessary at the moment to start diversifying the tools we use in uploading videos to the web. The response to (what) YouTube is throwing at us will be simply a slow migration from using its service…
Commenting on this post, blogger Mostafa Hussein says that YouTube was within its right to remove the videos. He explains:
This is actually true if you take a look at it. It states that content should follow the community guidelines. In these community guidelines, there is this statement saying “Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.”
This actually means that any video aimed at displaying state violence or torture against civilians will eventually be removed.
Simply, this means that YouTube is NOT the proper tool for this job. And Waelabbas and others posting similar content, should look for a websites, that don’t have similar terms. Or a website that is activist friendly, something similar to Indymedia or others.
Others are however not satisfied, and The Big Pharaoh is calling on supporters to campaign against the closure of the Abbas’ account. He pleads with his readers:
I’m breaking my blogging siesta to report this and ask you to please e-mail YouTube. YouTube has suspended Wael Abbas’ account for reasons that no one can understand. Wael Abbas is an anti-torture activist who posts videos of Egypt’s police brutality. These videos are the only mean to expose what happens in our police stations, without them the cry of people who were subjected to torture will go unheard. I really don’t understand why YouTube took this decision. I am counting on you.
The Committee to Protect Bloggers also has its say on the matter here.