YouTube has this uncanny ability to shed light in the darkest of places, to show the depths of social injustice that is occurring around the world. One such occurrence is the recent video of an Egyptian woman, naked and injured, being dragged through Cairo’s Tahrir Square after being sexually assaulted during celebrations for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration.
The Egyptian government has requested that YouTube take down the blurry two minute video, which was uploaded to June 8 and has since become viral. A spokesman for President Sisi said: “The Egyptian embassy in Washington DC and a number of Egyptian authorities, at the direction of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have requested the YouTube administration to remove the video of the sexual assault victim. This came in response to her wish, which she expressed during the president’s visit to her yesterday at the hospital to check on her condition.”
While the claims state that the woman has made this request, many speculate that this is spearheaded by the Egyptian government, who believe the video is tarnishing the President’s inauguration and making him look incompetent on his campaign promise to “restore the sense of shame” that had once prevented sexual assaults in Egypt.
With all this uproar and speculation, should YouTube be forced to make the concession and delete the video?
The past tells us that they won’t be so easy to budge. When the 2013 viral video of “The Innocence of Muslims” caused a tremendous uproar in Pakistan that caused YouTube to be banned altogether, they still did not waiver in their rights and in fact only took the video down when the U.S. Appeals Court got involved. YouTube is currently going on two years of being banned in Pakistan.
Should YouTube treat this Tahrir Square assault video any differently than they have for past videos? Do you think they’ll waiver in their proclamation that videos are “freedom of speech”?