Thursday, May 2, 2013

YouTube Case Hearing 3.5.2013



                                                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister of Science and Technology to appear today in the Lahore High Court in YouTube Case i.e. Bytes For All v. Federation of Pakistan
Yasser Latif Hamdani, Counsel for Petitioner organization Bytes For All, says that the YouTube ban takes away the right of Muslims to respond to scurrilous attacks on Islam and the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
LAHORE: Dr. Sania Nishtar will appear in the court of Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah at the Lahore High Court in reference to the ongoing YouTube Case i.e. Bytes For All v. Federation of Pakistan 958/2013 to explain the Ministry of Information Technology’s position on the banning of YouTube. The Counsel for the Petitioners is Yasser Latif Hamdani, Advocate High Court and a constitutional lawyer specializing in technology and internet related matters. The Petitioner has filed a writ petition challenging the internet curbs by the PTA, including but not limited to YouTube.
“The Petitioner’s point of view is that all internet curbs are counterproductive and deprive Pakistanis the right to access of information as well as the right to counter any propaganda against the country or against what they believe in strongly,” said Mr. Hamdani in a statement released here today.  He continued: “Taking away YouTube’s access is the modern equivalent of taking away the scholar’s pen.  Imagine if Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was not allowed to respond to scurrilous attacks on the Holy Prophet (PBUH)  in the 19th century.  Islam has a tradition of free speech, discourse and toleration that goes back 14 centuries and we should not abandon that tradition now when we need our best and the brightest to defend, counter and clarify the misconceptions about our great faith.”
Yasser Latif Hamdani also stated that while efforts are underway to find a middle ground between internet freedom and offensive materials, ultimately all curbs would hurt Pakistan more than it will hurt those who are engaging in scurrilous and offensive rhetoric.  “Our students, teachers and researchers have been deprived of a great resource of knowledge and information. It hurts the material progress of Pakistanis, a great majority of whom are Muslims,” declared Mr. Hamdani.  The PTA “made an incorrect submission when they declared that they could not ban individual URLs especially HTTPS URLs.  The recent ban on Beghairat Brigade’s video on vimeo shows that individual HTTPS URLs can be easily blocked,” he continued.  He was of the view that the across the board block on YouTube, therefore, was unjustified.
The Court has already begun exploring various ways in which Google, the parent organization of YouTube, can be given Intermediary Liability Protection, so that it may be allowed to come and introduce domain which would allow the reopening of YouTube. Google is set to appear in the court on May 17, 2013.

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