Youtube collaborates to hide human rights abuses

Posted on December 9, 2007


Readers may be aware that Youtube suspended the account of Egyptian video blogger Wael Abbas, a ban which featured on Reuters and Fox News. These news outlets have released statements saying that Youtube has restored his account. The truth is that although they have restored his account, they have removed all of the videos showing torture and police brutality, which represent the gist of his achievements. 181 videos, along with all the reactions to them.

I translate his post on the subject below:

I return to you from 30 days around the world, which I spent between Beirut, Washington, New York, Rabat, Casablanca and Guadalajara in Mexico. I’ll tell you about what I was doing later. I didn’t have enough time or an available internet connection to blog. But YouTube has issued a press release and distributed it to the news agencies saying that they have restored my account, the text of which is below:

Our general policy against graphic violence led to the removal of videos documenting alleged human rights abuses because the context was not apparent.
Having reviewed the case, we have restored the account of Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas. And if he chooses to upload the video again with sufficient context so that users can understand his important message, we will of course leave it on the site.

The press release on Reuters
The press release on Fox News

Please visit my account to see what has been restored. Nothing!! All the videos have been removed, whether they are related to torture or not, and with them of course all the visitor statistics, all the comments, all the video responses, and all the ratings. Oh joy!

What have they done but save their face, which has been scattered on the western media sources and on the western blogs more than the Egyptian ones.

The people who were most concerned were the western bloggers, people not of my religion or of yours, and not from my country or from yours. I don’t know them and they don’t know me. I thank all the western bloggers who stood by me and a very few Egyptian bloggers, only my close friends, some of whom offered to start a campaign against YouTube. I really thank them very much and have put a check mark against them in my heart.

All my efforts in uploading 181 videos over three years have been wasted. Yes, 181, not 100 as I previously thought. Apparently I am allowed to upload them again on condition that I write an accompanying description identifying what they contain so that no one will get the wrong idea, God forbid. So when I wrote “Egyptian police brutality” wasn’t that enough? Could someone have considered the Emad El Kebeer video [anal assault of man by police] a gay orgy? Or could they consider that video of that girl suspended between two chairs BDSM? I wrote “Egyptian police torturing a female murder suspect”. Besides, most of the videos feature police officers in uniform. Could YouTube consider that a police uniform fetish?

Ultimately, in summary, it was a hoax. YouTube restored an empty account – removed my 181 videos along with all comments, ratings, video responses and statistics of numbers of visitors. The hard work of almost three years. They wanted only to save face at my expense. What more context would they ever want than what was already there.

The campaign against YouTube shall not stop, so thank you to all those who helped, and God heal the spiteful.

Yahoo also restores my email account
And on the occasion of the Youtube scandal, Yahoo also restored my account, in silence, not missing a single email. The sent me the following message:

The situation you describe has been resolved. I apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused you. Please be assured that we'll do our best to prevent such problems in the future.

As a matter of fact if you look at his account there are a few of the torture/brutality videos, but not the really graphic ones he referred to above.