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2010-02-02

YouTube censorship roils Libyan blogosphere

By Jamel Arfaoui for Magharebia in Tunis — 02/02/10

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Bloggers in Libya recently tackled a variety of topics, including the social cost of tribalism and the controversial decision to block access to YouTube by domestic internet subscribers.

Blogger Naji launches an attack on those he considers new extremists for clinging to the mentality of tribalism. "Europe and the West have completed their exploration of the moon and are starting to look to Mars and Saturn, while we're still immersed in tribalism", he writes. "This state of affairs has affected civilisation and blocked the educated class and scientific competency through this tribal and familial prejudice. Even if my cousin is ignorant, and I know it between me and myself, he's better than anyone else who is expert and qualified."

"This is the Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic) era that has returned to us, with some of its abhorrent scenes," adds the blogger. "This path will only lead us to blind extremism and make us walk in the same vicious circle while people around us are making progress. In the meantime, we're overflowing our streets and lanes and other places with abominable tribalism and partiality that can go as far as blind extremism that divides and ruins more than you can imagine."

In her turn, blogger Ghaidaa Touati writes that a move to block YouTube by Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT) "is a dangerous indicator of the deterioration of freedom of expression. It will drag Libya backwards in terms of freedom of expression in the country."

The blogger fears that "this blocking will soon include Libyan blogs," and calls for "kicking off a media campaign rejecting the measure, which is part of the oppression of freedoms and violation of the rights to expression and freedom of opinion".

She cites the position of LTT as published on January 24th in Libya's al-Manara newspaper: "An informed source in [LTT] said in a special statement to al-Manara that the main reason behind denying users access to YouTube in Libya was to ease pressure on the internet by the users of the website inside Libya and to provide bandwidth to meet the provisions of service with ADSL users. In his statement, the source noted that LTT was committed to honouring the provisions of contracts signed by the company with large corporations in Libyan cities, which require LTT to provide certain bandwidth and high speed for users in those companies."

Meanwhile, blogger Bumedian believes that the blocking has several positive points, including protecting Libyan society from deviation. "Everyone is giving strange interpretations to the issue; some made an issue out of it and started talking about freedom and other similar topics," writes the blogger. "Many other people are wondering why the website was blocked and how, saying that it's a shock, as if we got up and found that we were denied air and oxygen."

"I support the blocking of websites if it involves public interest, yes, a very big interest," adds Bumedian. "Those who need YouTube to express their opinions can express their opinions as they did before the creation of YouTube, in whatever way it was. YouTube is not the optimal way to do that. Let's be objective; the website is wide open for all kinds of ideas, concepts, and all aspects and influences without any censorship."

In fact, Bumedian says he wishes for "greater censorship o f the internet and its websites, many of which have become a den of corruption and deviation for those who don't leave their homes".

"Is it true that life can't be lived without YouTube?" muses the blogger. "Or has it involved a lot of deviations? It's true that the website offers a lot of benefits and includes a lot of videos that I enjoyed watching. I even had a station there where I tried to find content that limits the flood of information directed towards users, but if blocking it involves greater benefit, then it's welcomed."

Naji also weighs in on the matter, writing about "Islamic YouTube versus YouTube, which is not committed to morals and values".

"Islamic YouTube has recently been launched; it's a clean website that matches the YouTube website, but doesn't allow any immoral videos that are contrary to the teachings of our Islamic faith to be uploaded," according to the blogger.

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    سامي فرج 2010-6-27

    My brothers, the world is changing. Arguments for blocking YouTube are useless. Technological progress these days will force everyone to accept everything, whether we call it corrupting for the nation or good for the nation. Today you can block a site, but tomorrow, technology will surpass us. The most important thing is to educate children to recognise the good and the bad. The future will show the non-existence of the role of the state or family in educating and guiding children. May God protect everyone, because the scientific revolution will enter every household against our will!

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    maryuo 2010-5-24

    The block on YouTube is not problem, because there are many ways to break it.

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    Alice 2010-3-30

    The blocking of you tube is because the leaders sons where video taped drinking and parting in london and like everything in libya its about what the some can do...... and the most can not!!!! Men can do things and poor woman cant walk down the road with out being harresed trust me i live here i know!!!!! So they block it as they know it is embrassing to them as a family. Just like what happened in switiland but hey who would wont a democratic society right??? u have to give woman equal rights!!!

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    عبد الحميد 2010-2-15

    In the name of God. Blocking sites, not just YouTube, but also the site of Libya Al Mostaqbal, Karorina paper, Oiya, National Front of the Critics of Libya, was not for moral reasons, as the regime pretends in Libya. It is a political measure. The cause of the blockage is the videos on YouTube showing the repression of families of children with AIDs and members of the families of victims of Abouslim prison in which 1,200 people died, and the scandal of the sons of Kadhafi in a celebration outside Libya. Is it the action of rebels to repress people? This means there was no revolution in Libya; it's a coup with the help of America, as Libyans know.

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    مواطن درجه ثانيه 2010-2-13

    In the name of the God the Beneficent the Merciful. I agree with the comment of the brother Libyan Citizen, or why was the site of the opposition blocked as well? Is it also corrupting the Libyan people? It is the war of the regime to prevent the publication of what happens in this glorious country and what depicts the images of misery experienced by the sovereign nation. Libya will remain a free country. The group of villains who made of Libya under the rule of an oppressive family will disappear.

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    اكثر واحد فاضي 2010-2-11

    A word of right for which evil is sought. The ban doesn't come for the sexual content of YouTube. All sexual sites on the internet are available in Libya. The ban is because of...

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    مواطن ليبي 2010-2-10

    The reasons for which YouTube was blocked in Libya were the videos posted about the scandals of the sons of Khadhafi, not out of concern for protecting the Libyan people from corruption or deviation. The state doesn’t care about the people. Long live the state of villains?

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    عبدالمالك 2010-2-9

    I support blocking YouTube.

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    سعيد 2010-2-8

    We all know that the cause of the blocking is Asatour site, so addressing things in this way is wrong.

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    ن ابن من شئت 2010-2-5

    Listen, what do you think of closing the internet altogether? Arabs, by God, have nothing to do with the internet and as they were before, not better!

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    ليليش 2010-2-4

    Mr Abdderrahim and you, female, it seems that you agree in opinion. One speaks and the other supports. There are many aspects of YouTube. You know what I mean. The harmful is more than the advantageous. I don’t think this is considered underdevelopment. Underdevelopment means going backward. Backwardness in YouTube is the scandals it posts which are not fit for civilised people. As for the story of foreigners and their view of us, this is not worthy of consideration as long we are going on the right path. As mental diseases, are those who defend virtue suffering from mental disease? I'm sorry you have an opinion like that! As for the story of the dentist, I think that science doesn’t come from You Tube. There are thousands of sites specialising in general medicine and not just dentistry. They're all in English if you speak it. Since you’re a dentist or dental technician, I think you can look for medical sites which publish articles fit for humans, or not.

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    ليليش 2010-2-4

    In my opinion, I think that the decision to block YouTube is one of the most audacious decisions ever. The obscenities presented by this site are far worse than its advantages, even if it is a tool for social networking. This site is unfortunately watched by adults, youth, women, young girls and teenagers just to see the obscene sexual, homosexual and deviant scenes it presents. This not only contradicts our religion but also Arab social customs. I confirm that many foreign researchers prevent their kids from viewing YouTube and many other pornographic sites. I also confirm that Western families prevent their children as well.

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    eiveld 2010-2-4

    Why is it blocking science and culture from us? You have blocked the best site. It is YouTube. We hope you'll restore YouTube to us.

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    انسانة 2010-2-4

    The problem without, permission or introduction... they blocked it! I'm a dentist and it was very interesting, on the practical side of my work. It presented all situations, the way of treatment and the diagnosis. We hope it will return as soon as possible!

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    عبد الرحيم 2010-2-4

    This issue doesn't harm Libyans alone, but also affects the image of our country inside and outside through foreigners living in Libya. This reflects total ignorance and underdevelopment. Instead of blocking pornographic and other sites, they block YouTube. Let's just pray to God to heal some people's mental health!

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