Checking the watchers

Following Google/YouTube’s recent clumsy attempt to remove (or censor, it’s still unclear) the account of a prominent Egyptian blogger who had posted videos of policemen torturing prisoners, things have now returned to supposed normality:

It looks as though Wael’s YouTube account has been restored, after being blocked several days ago. The reason given for the initial block was that the videos he posted, many of police brutality in Egypt, violated YouTube’s terms of service. We’ve written Wael to ask if the reversal was on-the-sly or an official about-face.


Update: According to a Fox News report, it looks to be an official move. However, none of his earlier videos were restored.

Having reviewed the case, we have restored the account of Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas — and if he chooses to upload the video again with sufficient context so that users can understand his important message we will of course leave it on the site.

And indeed a quick click-through to Wael’s videos produces this line of poetry.

This user doesn’t have any videos at this time!

(Thanks to Marshall at RRW for pointing this out.)

Should Wael choose to do all the work of posting the approximately 100 videos he had (according to CNN) on YouTube again, or anywhere else for that matter, their URLs will change and he’ll have to track back to every post and correct the link. Anyone else who helped to make these videos viral will have to do the same thing. In other words, the very viral nature of what Wael did, which led to a rare prison sentence for two of the police officers involved in one of the instances of brutality, has been severed in one fell and ill-considered swoop.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common