10 August, 2006

Totally YouTubular

“This is with regard to letters from readers which talk about the blocking of the www.youtube.com website. The website was blocked by Etisalat on instruction from the authorities because of the presence of adult content on the website, which is clearly against the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the UAE. The site is prone to content abuse and there are no clear boundaries that define adult content from regular content.

Etisalat, in its role as the implementer of the proxy filtering process on behalf of the authorities, does not indiscriminately block websites. There are numerous websites in terms of entertainment content which are not blocked by the proxy filter because they are properly categorised and therefore can control abuse.

Abu Dhabi” – from here

You can read my take on this over here.


nzm said...

This is another suggested reason for the YouTube blocking posted here

It contains a link to a Communicate article which goes into some detail about some of the Dubai "promotional" videos which were hosted on YouTube!

Anonymous said...

I'm against any form of censorship whatsoever...but before everyone rides thier high horse lets review some facts:

Farnce with its love for freedom has banned muslim girls from wearing scarfs...why bcz it insults THIER own culture and believes....now could some explain why a centuries old democracy would care if people wore head scarfs or nick ties...or red shoes...

The US has a media so biased to thier own belives that they actually mock the dead lebanese while advocating every move made by israel....

So when everything is compared...blocking YouTube isn't such a third world act after all...rather it might be something we have imported from the first[sic] world....

Ahsan Ali said...

I agree with what 'hesham' said.

The example of France particularly (and this is a separate topic altogether) is ironic in that that their society wishes to impose the image of 'freedom' on itself by imposing a restriction on the display of 'freedom of religion'

Brn said...


I'm a little confused as to how, even if true, the American media being biased is an infringement of free speech. Presumably free speech would allow them to be biased in any direction that they want.

Also, can you supply an example of the American media mocking dead Lebanese?

secretdubai said...

That has to be the most absurd argument I have ever read, Hesham!

I'm afraid it smacks of the typical "blame West" mentality.

This region has a problem in terms of the repression of free speech. Admit that, confront it, deal with it. It's no good whingeing about bias in media overseas. They are free, we are not.

French schoolgirls may not be allowed to wear headscarves, but I can't even wear a t-shirt in Sharjah.

marwan said...

Women could wear a hessian sack out here and still be pounced on by men. I doubt YouTube was their tissuebox material.

And by gum, I hope it isn't the conspiracy theory w/Emaar some are proposing. If so, why now? Those videos have been on YouTube for months. And YouTube DOES have a boundary, as Sam mentioned, the age verifier. I'm not sure what YouTube can do beyond that besides physically carding every one of the 100 million daily visitors to their site.

Damnit, I just want my grainy Huey Lewis videos back.

Ahsan Ali said...

SecretDubai, while NOT defending the local media, I'd like to point out that that there's heavy bias in media overseas despite the freedom of speech. Which newspaper or media outlet can claim objectivity ?

Also, it is important to note that the French headscarf ban is more galling in a society which _claims_ lack of bias, than in a society like here where they don't claim lack of bias. Better poor laws than hypocritical ones... but that's arguable. Hmm, I wonder if Zidane has tried a dishdasha.. hahahaha.

But seriously, do you realise there are books and movies that are _banned_ in certain western countries ? Yes, the middle-east is ****ty, but please, let us not pretend that Western countries are clean.

That said, the West is definitely way ahead in terms of human rights, etc.

No one is clean, but some are less dirty than others. Period.

samuraisam said...

doubleletter & hesham: might I suggest you read this..

"...no special status for religion: religious activities should submit to the same set of laws as other activities and are not considered above the law."

Brn said...


Just like hesham, I believe that you are raising a complete red herring. Bias in Western media, even if it exists, is completely irrelevant to the issue of free speech. Banning any website is not a matter of objectivity - I do not know that anyone claimed that youtube should be available because it is objective.

Ahsan Ali said...

Thank you for the link, sam. The ideal of Lacite is laudable. But people who believe or disbelieve in God, and therefore live their lives accordingly, will have different opinions about it.

Anyway, this has set me thinking: what if someone wore a hijab for fashion :P Or a bandanna. Till what point is a scarf a scarf ? When it no longer remains a religious symbol ? What if someone wore a Elvis Presley scarf ? :P

Ahsan Ali said...

brn, let me clarify.

What I think is that bias exists in the western media. I disagree with anyone who says it is perfect.

Furthermore, I acknowledge that Freedom of speech in majority of Western world is unmatched. But it is not perfect.

Blocking YouTube was not inspired by the west [LOL]. I think what hesham _meant to say_ (I'm on shaky ground here) is that Etisalat's attitude of censorship is similar to western media's attitude of _self_ censorship [i.e bias].

That is all.

samuraisam said...

doubleletter: I personally believe it to be a good system, though I'd say banning headscarves is a bit far.

I'd say banning religious teachings in school is a great idea; my grandfather wouldn't let his kids learn any religion in school unless they were to learn of all religions (or at least all major ones) equally.

If someone wants to learn about a religion; then great, that should be their only inspiration, not because their parents are XYZ religion or their friends are (sadly no religions I know of work this way.)

Anonymous said...


If it is allowed to be biased every which way...then I susggest YOU give me an example of where one of the big networks (ABC,NBC,CNN...etc) took another direction and was pro arab or muslim....Seems more like a Syrian Freedom of Speach claims rather thatn a true one...right?

A month ago a 15 year old girl was raped by four service men in Iraq. Then she was killed aong with her parents and her 9 year old sister. That story got all about a 2 minute spot for one day here on CNN.

But a damn dog that was killed in Afganistan front page covrage on CNN.com with all the major networks doing a 30 min clip on the issue. It went as far as analysing sattalite shot taken from space.....

Freedom of speach...maybe...but for sure ARab and Musim point oif view is way down on the list.

As for mocking thge deaths of lebenese....Here you go....


Would anyone dare to say the same thing about 911?

With the excpetion of Bill Maher I dont beieve there is even a chance that true free specah could be achieved in the media these days. Only a lttle margin for opposite views are given to major issues (not the Bk vs the Mc debate) and that is just to keep thing for looking like pre-war Iraq(post war as well?) or current day Syria...

Even Bill Maher could his show cancelled and pulled from the networks after simply stating a political view that was not liked by current "Party" that is control...Syria anyone???

Finally, let me ask you thins? Where else in the world there are kidnapped Arabs and Muslims placed in cages under the sun for over 5 years with no access to thier rights that are mandated by inter. law? Where is free speach there?

Are you going to claim that non of journalists in FOX CNN ABC...etc see a problem with this?

If they do, then why are they silent? and if they dont...well so much for freedom of speach.


I have re-read my post and could find where I blamed anyone for anything...

You can't wear a t-shirt in sharjah, you cant wear a head scarf in France and you cant wear a G string bikini in Santa Monica...so whats your point?

samuraisam said...

hesham: This is about youtube; not america, not france, not japan, china, beijing or moscow.

Bias is different from censorship.

Anonymous said...

secretdubai, what kind of t/shirt was it that the authorities in sharjah pissed themselves in not letting u wear it? 1 day etisalat will see the light!(yea ,rite!)

Anonymous said...


This post is about control of expression.... i never do it to other....and do not like it when others try to do it to me...

When you are biased and in power...the natural progress is censorship....which is my point..

some concepts come easy if given a moment or two for though...

secretdubai said...

secretdubai, what kind of t/shirt was it that the authorities in sharjah pissed themselves in not letting u wear it?

According to Sharjah's "Decency Laws", all t-shirts are banned for men and women, because you are supposed to cover the arm at least to the elbow.

Ahsan Ali said...

secretdubai, the 'good' news is that in Sharjah Laws are forgotten after 4-5 months :), during which time they also tend to change without the public's knowledge. :P

Anonymous said...

SecretDubai and all the others who know what "freedom of speech" is

Looks like you havent been to sharjah in a while, I see women in tights and sleevless t-shirts jogging on the Buhairah corniche daily. Times have changed. Except the West still has the holier than though attitude, and always wants to "teach those silly arabs" what freedom really is. Just like in Iraq ...yeeeehaaa! Those damn fascists need to be lasood and rounded up into camps.....stop trying to teach us whats right and whats wrong.....will ya?

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