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YouTube, Yahoo Silence Human Rights Activist Misr Digital

Armen Hareyan's picture

A fellow blogger Misr Digital ( and Human Rights activist, who has won awards for his efforts is being silenced by YouTube and Yahoo!.

Yahoo has cancelled his email address and YouTube has taken down his videos. The videos, though graphic in nature, are live videos submitted by Egyptians, in hopes that the world will see the human rights abuses they endure.

YouTube claims to support his efforts, but the context of the videos are the problem. Well then, let’s put them in context, a country, like many Islamic countries, controls the Mass Media within and therefore the Mass Media of the World is never able to show the world what these goverments do. A blogger is able to bring the real deal to the world, which the Western Liberal Media had no problem showing when it was against the US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please contact YouTube and Yahoo! to help bring to light the injustices being wrought in Egypt to the People’s Court of the World.

Members of the Press, Please for once do the right thing and support Wael in his efforts. Use your collective power to bring pressure on YouTube and Yahoo!

Politicians and Human Rights Groups, please take action to get important information like this reinstated.

Fellow Bloggers Spread the Word and Get the Attention of the Press, Politicians, Human Rights Groups, encourage them to take action NOW. See contact information at bottom of post

A prominent Egyptian human rights activist has been muzzled after YouTube and Yahoo! shut down accounts belonging to the award-winning blogger.

Cairo-based Wael Abbas regularly writes and posts video about police brutality, torture and sexual harassment in Egypt. He told that he’s fighting an “electronic war” now that the providers have pulled the plug on his video and e-mail accounts.

“This is part of a campaign or a war — an electronic war — against me,” Abbas said from Cairo.

Abbas has used his YouTube account to post more than 100 videos of police brutality and public demonstrations over the past few years to further the fight for freedoms in his country. Many of the videos, taken with cell phones, are leaked to him by anonymous posters who find that Abbas will report on the stories when mainstream Egyptian media will not.

One of the videos — of an Egyptian bus driver being sodomized with a stick by a police officer — was used as evidence to convict two officers of brutality, a rare occurrence in a country where human-rights groups say torture is rampant. /**/

“I think this is a new technique that the government is using, which is complaining about the content of some Web sites or some e-mail addresses, in order to disable them — and disable their owners — from what they are doing,” Abbas said.

YouTube said the decision to remove Abbas’ videos had nothing to do with the Egyptian government, but was rather an internal decision.

“In terms of content that might highlight human rights abuses, of course we support users putting educational, historic, philosophical or documentary footage on the site — even when this may involve acts of violence,” a YouTube spokeswoman said. “However, the graphic nature of the content needs to be put in context so that users can easily understand what they are watching.”

Abbas has run his blog Misr Digital, or Egyptian Awareness, since 2004, covering freedoms of speech and expression topics ignored by mainstream Egyptian media.

His work won him the 2007 Knight International Journalism Award, in recognition of his effort to raise the standards of media excellence in Egypt.

Click here to see Misr Digital blog (in Arabic).

Many of the videos of police brutality are taken by the officers with their cell phones, who then share them with friends, Abbas said.

Six videos taken down by YouTube and shared with show alleged police brutality at stations in downtown Cairo and the Imbaba and El Haram neighborhoods of the capitol.

In two videos, a murder suspect confesses after being hung upside down. Her screams are of the pain in her hands, according to an independent translation by

Another video from the El Haram police station shows one officer repeatedly slapping a suspect while others egg on the officer to “Hit him!” “Hit him!” The video was allegedly taken to make an example of the suspect among his friends, Abbas said.

“What is important to me is to have these videos available online for anybody because the anti-torture campaign in Egypt hasn’t stopped,” he said. “There are people being killed in police stations everyday; elections continue to be rigged; there will be interference from the police inside the Egyptian university.

“So these videos are necessary to keep the world informed of what kind of ‘democracy’ that we have in Egypt and what kind of charade that we have here.”

A request for comment from Yahoo! was not immediately returned.

Yahoo! Contact Information:
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Tel: (408) 349-3300
Fax: (408) 349-3301

Yahoo! Customer Care

Google Contact Information:
Google Headquarters
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
phone: 650-253-0000
fax: 650-253-0001

YouTube Web Contact form:

Google’s Board of Directors:

Human Rights Watch Contact Information:
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: 1-(212) 290-4700, Fax: 1-(212) 736-1300

Human Rights Watch
Poststraße 4-5
10178 Berlin, Germany
Tel. +49-(0)30-259306-10
Fax. +49-(0)30-259306-29

Source: By Waste Of My Oxygen Blog


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