Where’s my YouTube? Pakistan’s ban on Video Sharing Site.

June 30, 2010 at 2:38 am (Uncategorized)

Here’s an interesting article by Maqsood Ahmad Shaheen on Pakistani students use of social networking sites and how they seek information during political crises.  Here’s the citation:

Shaheen, M.A. (2008). Use of social networks and information seeking behavior of students during political crises in Pakistan: A case study, The International Information & Library    Review, 40, 142-147.

The catalyst episode that prompted this paper was when President General Pervez Musharraf imposed a country-wide “state of emergency” in Pakistan on November 3, 2007.  As a result there were bans on about a dozen domestic and international newspapers and television stations.  As a subscriber to GEO TV and ARY Digital, I remember the black screen announcing the government shutting these stations down. In fact many Pakistani journalists were fearful for their lives, not just their livelihoods.  However, one bright spot was the Internet.  Journalists, political youths, and just about anyone with an Internet connection were Facebooking, MySpacing, Twittering, and Blogging about the political situation.  Even video podcasts were popping up on YouTube.  But like all cool things this too was attacked by the government. 
            On February 22, 2008, YouTube suddenly vanished worldwide for two hours.  Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) ordered the country’s 70 Internet service providers to block YouTube in an effort to curb the mass mobilization of youth against the government’s policies.  However, this resulted in technical faults on the server, which caused the breakdown of the service for more than two hours.
            Shaheen’s case study (2008) was a random sampling of college-level students from International Islamic University (IIU), Quaid-i-Azam University, and Fatima Jinnah Women’s University.  420 surveys were sent out, 295 responded.  The results indicated that social networking sites have the potential to promote freedom of speech and a greater awareness of politics.  These sites allow people who have little interest in politics to be exposed to it, which may help to facilitate a greater increase in citizen participation (a.k.a Watchdog groups).
            And just so you don’t think it’s all serious business, here’s a fun little clip I found on YouTube. 

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