ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has asked YouTube to review YouTube’s decision to block a TV channel run by the late Dr. Israr Ahmed’s foundation on allegations of hate speech.
“The unilateral closure of the channel of prominent Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmed raises questions about the arbitrary limits of online expression,” the PTA said in an appeal to YouTube on Tuesday.
A source at the PTA said the channel was used to broadcast a video of Dr. Israr Ahmed trying to unravel the socio-economic order envisioned by the Holy Quran.
The PTA claimed that such videos were intended to “educate viewers.”
Videos on the channel are for the sole purpose of ‘viewer education’.
YouTube suspended the channel after a Jewish group complained that the program contained hate-promoting content.
Dr. Israr’s channel had nearly 3 million subscribers and his lectures were admired by many in the West.
The channel, run by Dr Israr Ahmed’s son, features recordings of old speeches by the deceased scholar.
It contains his views on the end of the world in light of the Qur’anic passages and the place of the Jews in history.
A student of Dr Israr Ahmed accused the move of violating freedom of speech in the West.
Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza said on his YouTube channel that the move betrayed Western double standards. “They didn’t listen to each other and acted on the grievances of the Jewish community,” he said.
A complaint received on YouTube expressed Dr Israr’s fears that “sermons could lead to violence against Jews in the West by Muslims.”
India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday banned 22 YouTube channels, including four based in Pakistan, on charges of distributing disinformation that threatens “national security and public order”.
In January, the Indian government banned 35 YouTube channels and several social media accounts for spreading “fake news”. Similar actions were taken in December when 20 YouTube channels were blocked for broadcasting ‘anti-Indian content’.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the blocked YouTube channel had 2.6 billion subscribers.
According to the agency, New Delhi has invoked “emergency powers” under its IT law to block 18 Indian channels.
“Several YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various topics, especially about the Indian military,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Indian government is using IT rules introduced last year to crack down on social media dissent.
India has sought strong action from tech giants like Google and Facebook to eradicate “fake news” from its platform.
At a meeting in February, officials said companies were inaction and forced the government to take down content, which has sparked global criticism that the authorities are repressing freedom of expression.
Google said at a meeting that the Indian intelligence service should not disclose its takedown decision, but officials dismissed it.
Posted at Serb on April 6, 2022