Sunday, September 21, 2008

On Blocking Youtube

Inshalla tomorrow you'll be able to read about this on al-Jarida 1st page.

But I wanted to share my excitement I felt today in how sometimes journalism can make our world better.

This morning at the ISP I work for we received an order from one of the department heads in MoC (Ministry of Communication) asking us quite simply and blatantly, to block

The reason stated in the official paper was that if you do a search on youtube for something like "qur'an mula77an" or something like that you'll get some videos that offend Islam mock ilQur'an and our prophet Mohammad PBUH. I tried to search for the same to check what it was, but couldn't find it, but that's not the issue really because I'm positive that there are, undoubtedly tons more offensive things to be found.

Where to start?!

The issue is very revealing of how our government works. Actually most governments work this way if not enough checks and balances are installed. They say that Power corrupts, I say even if it didn't, in the very least it can be misused.

1- al-Islam, al-Qur'an and irrasool Mohammad PBUH are strong and shining beacons of the right path, and the ammunition you need to defend them is abundant and can be easily found within their pure message and rightous and impecable history. Any of us can argue with these offenders to no end and you'll never be stumped or run out of a reasonable argument to support you, assuming you did your research properly. And who knows maybe the open argument will be more effective in educating others about your plight, definitely much more than if the subject is CENSORED and BANNED. in other words:
banning something usually only succeeds in giving it more credibility, because it implies weakness in what's criticized.

2- Youtube contains EVERY possible point of view. not just the ones you dislike. but also the ones that support yours and perhaps do a better job than you in defending your point of view.

3- These offenses existed long long ago. mo tawhom. Always have, and always will.

So for the above reasons I was shaking my head at the rediculous piece of paper from MoC.

Almost 15-20% of our internet traffic these days is in fact Youtube traffic. To suddenly turn that off would be nothing less than a public relations disaster for the Ministry. But they simply did not do their homework and ask us ISP's about these figures.

Also, Youtube is greatly involved with its users in trying to calibrate itself to their sensitivities, take this story for example: YouTube Bans Gun and Knife Videos In the UK

So we live in a reasonable world, with reasonable people who LOVE to communicate and talk and reason with you. This MOC guy simply chose to BLOCK. wouldn't it have been simpler to just go to Youtube's "contact us" page and file a complaint?

The time of "Freedom of Speech above all else" is slowly being rethought in the world and big internet corporations are now more willing to listen and understand what their users want.

The MOC doesn't really need to mention any reason for the blocking, because if we don't comply and do what they ask, they simply make our life hell by hampering our requests for installations of new fiber connections, new customers and hooking up Kuwait in general.

So they always have been using strong-arm tactics to force us to block stuff they don't like, including What good justification is there really for the MoC to force Kuwaity citizens to use it's own international phone lines with rates easily reaching 250-500 fils a minute (1-2 dollar)? while Skype lets me call the US for 0.017$ a minute (less than 2 measly cents)? that's 50-100 times as much!!

How can they say we want you to pay more, and it will be in Kuwait's best interest??

they're either:
1- crooked and think that WE're too stupid or ignorant to do the math.
2- too stupid or ignorant to do the math themselves.

I don't think it's 1. I think it's 2. because I don't think they're crooked. But in either case they obviously feel that they can do whatever they want with impunity. That no one will tell them they're wrong.

Well today I was asked by al-Jarida's chief editor if I can supply him with a copy of that silly MoC order so he can publish it on 1st page tomorrow morning, and I gladly gave it to him. And may it "tet6arba2 foq dmagh" whoever was stupid enough to think he lives in a single voice country.


Big Pearls said...

A big "NO" to blocking you is stupid!

Abdulrazzaq said...

Ya36ek alf 3afiya wala.. this is the classical way of thinking, block and try to stop people from seeing what they wont see..

1st: who are they/we to tell people to see what to see or not ?

2nd: instead of blocking them, do a mini organization or group that comes up with counter-information to help the image of Islam, counter attack if you are very intense about what mockery they do out of every religion not only islam.

3rd: we dont live in a bubble, block the whole internet, because basically you tube is the internet with video. but don't worry there are alot other youtube-likes.

anyways, to you mr. falantan i respect ur courage, ou bil tawfeeg ..

thank you..

Anonymous said...

I was told this news earlier today. It's ridiculous. I'm glad you lay it out logically here.

a2b said...

i second you anamethyst

The Wise one said...

Those who leave Islam get killed. That's how weak Islam is. I've seen the video, it's pathetic. It's got NOTHING on the videos made by Capnoawesome and theamazingatheist. Those two are far far more offensive to Islam than any other users on youtube.

Ever since we were kids, the biography of the Prophet and Classical Tafsirs were hidden from us. We were given a much lighter version. For anyone interested in the entire Sira of Muhammad and Classical Tafsirs of the Quran I suggest you go to the Official Saudi Arabian website for the propagation of Islam.

I hope this country does become like KSA. Why? So that the people can fight and regain their freedoms back, then they'll appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

This is the most stupid decision I've ever heard or read! More is the reason behind the blocking itself.. what a shame!

ĐǻñĎõøðñ said...

please tell me this is just one big stupid joke...

Anonymous said...

NOWAY....they might as well block the whole internet!

manutdfanatic said...

As far as my knowledge extends, this has not been proposed in Saudi as yet either. So, coming from Kuwait, this is plain wow.

Nemo said...

hmm do they know that there are so many video streaming websites nowadays?
maybe they need to block them too?

Anonymous said...

ok then its time to improve tunneled networks :))

Anonymous said...

"banning something usually only succeeds in giving it more credibility, because it implies weakness in what's criticized"

I like you comment here and I do agree with you on your points stated.
I'd also like to add that they are removing the responsibility of parents to monitor what is good or not good for their children. In my opinion this just leads to a more lazy and negligent people who will expect others to do their duties. Its like not exercising and then the person expects to sit on a vibrating machine expecting it to do the work for them.

Youtube yes has its negative areas but the positive aspects of such a media far outweighs the negative ones. Instead of working with Youtube to help better the media, the ministry has chosen the lazy approach. This just shows how lazy the people in charge are, do you expect these same people to then positively and constructively work in the best interest for you?

I hope the people of Kuwait rise up and actively voice their opinions on such a blatant disregard for their freedoms and for such a direct insult to their intelligence by the Ministry Officials and for those who control them.

Alosh said...

MOC have always been taking the easy street in terms of solutions, strong arming ISPs to bend them to its will shows the lack of logic & reason.
Our voices will not go unheard on this, we honor our religion and we are against those who disrespect it but burying our heads in the sand is the worst thing to do, instead of demanding such material to be removed through the implemented methods (like reporting offensive materials) we choose to look the other way and block the site, the person(s) who posted the videos will sure feel better about themselves forcing a whole country to shy away and block the site. You'd be the judge who win in this case?