Memos from Asia

Supreme Court of Pakistan Hints at Banning YouTube

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For the last two weeks, the news of possible Banning of YouTube was circulating all around the social and digital media of Pakistan.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan took notice of objectionable content posted on social media and YouTube and hinted at banning the video-sharing platform in the country. Apart from entertainment, YouTube is also used for educational purposes.

This isn’t the first time Pakistan has regulated YouTube; in September 2012, access to the site was banned until 2016 due to an anti-Islam film being uploaded to YouTube.

The restrictions sparked violent protests across the country. The ban was uplifted in 2016 after an agreement between PTA and YouTube. Under the agreement, the Pakistan Telecom Authority can ask YouTube to remove any material it deems offensive (CNBC, 2016).

The judiciary of Pakistan doesn’t have any issue regarding the freedom of speech of the people, but they are of the opinion that a lot of people are sharing negative comments, hate speech, and posting videos regarding the judiciary, army, and intelligence of Pakistan.

Judge of the Supreme court of Pakistan remarked on banning YouTube that no one can share content against the United States or Europe on YouTube. He added that many countries have banned the video-sharing platform while several countries control social media through local laws.

Banning YouTube has sparked an online debate

The YouTube ban news concerned many social media influencers as hundreds of Pakistanis are associated with the video platform that is a means of earning money for many Pakistanis.

Citizens termed the possible ban as a threat to the digital economy of the country, as YouTube serves as a platform of learning and earning. A lot of Pakistanis news, entertainment, food, and travel channels on YouTube are earning money from the platform.

Some Pakistani officials are also not in favor of banning YouTube.

Many Pakistani celebrities showed their disappointment on the hints of banning the video platform.

Twitter users rebelled against the ban

Since YouTube is the biggest source of self-employment in Pakistan, Twitter users argued that the ban on the social media application would financially affect the people in Pakistan, who are earning their incomes from the platform of YouTube.

Twitter was also flooded with tags of #youtubeban after the news.

Banning YouTube this time around will hurt the tech industry of Pakistan. While every local business is affected by this pandemic, there are many who oppose this regulation based on economic reasons. Free speech doesn’t seem to be the only reason to oppose it.

If there is a problem with the digital sector, then the country should address it or solve it rather than banning the platform and making unemployment prevalent during this pandemic.

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