Gratuitous violence

Gratuitous violence

“We”re not asking for the kind of respect reserved for nuns, the elderly, and brain surgeons,” YouTube says in its guidelines for uploading videos. “We mean don”t abuse the site.”

Among the red lines that YouTube users should not cross is this one:
Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don”t post it.
Sounds reasonable? Not necessarily. Take the case of Wael Abbas, who runs the Egyptian blog, Misr Digital. His YouTube account has just been suspended. The reason? He was posting images of gratuitous violence – people “getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated” at the hands of the Egyptian authorities.

YouTube – together with similar sites – is one way that Egyptian activists have been able to draw the world”s attention to abuses by the Mubarak regime, and Wael describes his ban as “by far the biggest blow to the anti-torture movement in Egypt”.

Over on the Arabist blog, Hossam el-Hamalawy says: “Wael”s videos have been central in the fight against police brutality, and YouTube should be proud the Egyptian anti-torture activists have been using its channels in the current War on Torture … but instead, the YouTube administrators played a cat-and-mouse game with us when it came it uploading Emad Kabeer”s videos, taking it down several times, then allowing it censored, then uncensored, then parts of it … then they take it down, and then put it up again … ”

police officers were eventually sentenced to three years in jail for sodomising Emad and filming their crime. It was only through the efforts of courageous bloggers and a few independent journalists that the case came to court.

There were similar problems involving YouTube with a video of a woman murder suspect being tortured by Egyptian police. Click on the link and you get a message from YouTube saying “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”