In the aftermath of protests against the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”, Pakistan’s prime minister ordered the immediate shutdown of the video-sharing website YouTube on Monday.
Youtube said it will not remove the clip which has offended millions around the Muslim world, however, it has blocked access in countries such as Libya, Egypt and most recently, India and Indonesia where violent protests have remained unabated.
In its Friday statement, YouTube said that outside of Libya, Egypt, India and Indonesia, the video will remain on its website. Pakistan and Bangladesh both blocked access to the site late Monday.
The decision by YouTube to not remove the clip is fine as it states that the video is clearly within their guidelines. But then that brings us to the question that why block it in certain Muslim countries and not in others? Is the level of violence the deciding factor here? Because if it is, then that may send across the wrong message to the protesting masses – the message being that extreme violence could achieve results.
Resorting to violence shouldn’t be an option at any time – regardless of what the provocation is, for the lives of innocents are at cost here. It is unfortunate that the sentiments of millions are being played with by an individual or group with no regard for religious sensitivities but then if the question is turned over to free speech, should YouTube not be impartial here?
Crowds are already volatile and vulnerable – is being selective about blocking the clip in certain countries a prudent decision on YouTube’s part?
Don’t other countries have the potential to turn further violent in the aftermath of these protests or will blocking the website calm down the masses to a certain extent?