The recent YouTube ban across Pakistan was started on September 17, 2012. It has been more than four months now, still the ban continues. Though there has been a demand to re-open the video-sharing site from the civil society and users in general, but the government still has failed to find a better alternative in practice than to just talk about it.
In a report conducted on how much the ban has impacted research, it was found that academics had not been affected by it, which is not a surprise considering that many don’t even take it seriously. A lot of people who are interested have been forced to use proxy websites to access the site, but this is not the solution to the bigger problem of internet censorship that freedom activists struggle for.
YouTube has many official channels of universities and colleges around the world, which regularly upload latest videos of lectures and conferences and also classes online. Besides this, many other social media groups, news outlets and activists have their own channels from where they have formed a connection with their audience members and reach out to them, but this has been ignored by those who suggested the ban in the first place and definitely by the government who seems to lack any permanent policy about it other than simply banning it.
But never the less, when one of the brightest minds produced in this country, like that of Dr. Attaur Rahman, former federal minister of Science and Technology and former chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), thinks that academics is primarily a sector that relies on books and journals, then unfortunately, the technology has really not been embraced by the country’s policymakers. The fact that a tweet can be cited as a source and a YouTube link can be referenced in an academic paper says a lot about the kind of technology and its reach we are talking about.
Although books will not lose their place in the world of knowledge, but similarly, today’s environment of fast information technology communications means that YouTube will also have to be incorporated into it. Although, in Pakistan the usage of internet, let alone the internet is not a prevalent phenomenon, but what is right has to be right no matter its pervasiveness in a society.