Mish and ling the YouTube issue!

ACCORDING TO a recent report compiled to assess how much the months-long ban on YouTube has impacted academic re- search in Pakistan, academics have not been affected by it, which is not a surprise considering that many don’t even take it seriously. A lot of people who are interested have been forced to use proxy websites to access the site, but this is not the solution to the bigger problem of Internet censorship for which the freedom activists are struggling. YouTube has many official channels of universities and colleges around the world, which regularly upload latest videos of lectures and conferences and also classes online. Besides, many other social media groups, news outlets and activists have their own channels from where they have formed a connection with their audience members and reach out to them. But here a question arises out of it whether the authorities had considered this point while slapping the ban on YouTube? This, no doubt, is a point of concern that there still exists a potential group of academics who consider that education is primarily a sector that relies on books and journals only, despite the information technology has boomed almost all the sectors. Although books will not lose their place in the world of knowledge, but similarly, today’s environment of fast information technology communications means that YouTube will also have to be incorporated into it. YouTube is here to stay, in many ways beyond its social networking debut. The YouTube generation has been coined as the group of internet users who are making use of today’s technology of video sharing with the ease of personal video uploading. Similarly, vblogs are an offshoot of this group, allowing users to blog their lives and experiences in writing, and accompany the whole package with a video rendition of their travels. Now at this stage of IT revolution, remaining aloof in the comity of nations would be tantamount to backpedaling at all fronts. Even the conservative societies have started allowing access to the outer world through Internet with certain limitations and monitoring checks on internet contents. In Pakistan, which has registered a remarkable progress especially among the South Asian states during the last several years, the relevant authorities have not yet been able to come up with an effective censorship mechanism for Internet contents despite it had to block the YouTube or many other websites due to the release of objectionable or blasphemous materials. In the wake the academic loss of the students generation as well as the dents causing to the other sectors, the government needs to immediately scrape the ban on YouTube but the installation of an effective censorship mechanism, as just continue banning such sites is no solution in any way.

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