YouTube & Yahoo Silence Human Rights Activist Misr Digital

A fellow blogger 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 FOXNews.com 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 his 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 FOXNews.com 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 FOXNews.com.

Click here to see Pt. 1 of the video. (Warning: these videos are graphic and may be disturbing.)

Click here to see Pt. 2 of the video.

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.

Click here to see the video.

“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
http://help.yahoo.com/
1-866-562-7219

Google Contact Information: 

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

YouTube Web Contact form: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/request.py

Google’s Board of Directorsdirectors@google.com

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
hrwnyc@hrw.org

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

Human Rights Watch
Avenue des Gaulois, 7
1040 Brussels
Tel: 32 (2) 732-2009
Fax: 32 (2) 732-0471
hrwbe@hrw.org

Human Rights Watch
325 W. Huron, Suite 304
Chicago, IL 60610
Tel.: 312-573-2450
Fax: 312-573-2454
E-mail:
chicago@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
2nd Floor, 2-12 Pentonville Road
London N1 9HF, UK
Tel: 44 20 7713 1995, Fax: 44 20 7713 1800
E-mail:
hrwuk@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 441
Los Angeles, CA 90064 USA
Tel:1-(310) 477-5540, Fax: (310) 477-4622
E-mail:
hrwlasb@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
6 rue des Graviers
92521 Neuilly Cedex
France
Tel: +33 (0)1 41 92 09 90
Fax: +33 (0)1 47 22 08 61
E-mail:
paris@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
P.O. Box 43
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E-mail:
hrwsd@hrw.org

Human Rights Watch
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San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel: 415.362.3250, Fax: 415.362.3255
E-mail:
hrwsf@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
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Tel: +41 22 738 04 81
Fax: +41 22 738 17 91
E-mail:
hrwgva@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
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Toronto, Ontario M4P 1G8
Tel: 416.322.8448
Fax: 416.322.3246
E-mail:
toronto@hrw.org
Website

Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
Tel:1-(202) 612-4321, Fax:1-(202) 612-4333
hrwdc@hrw.org

Government Contact Information:

US House of Representative

US Senate

UN General Inquiries

Witness:

Name Position Phone
WITNESS 718.783.2000
David Abbott Office Services & Human Resources Coordinator 718.783.2000 ext. 301
Miyoko Brunner Development Associate 718-783-2000, ext. 303
Matisse Bustos Hawkes Communications & Outreach Coordinator 718.783.2000 x.306
Elizabeth Dickinson Director of External Relations 718 783 2000 ext. 327
Kelly Matheson Video Advocacy Institute Coordinator 718-783-2000 x-339
Chad Hunter Archive and Distribution Associate 718-783-2000 x-320
Chris Michael Hub Community Coordinator 718 783 2000 ext. 326
Sameer Padania Hub manager 718.783.2000 ext. 325
Guergana Petkova Program Assistant 718-783-2000, ext. 321
Oshoveli Munashimue Administrative Associate 718-783-2000 Ext.338
Christine Umali Outreach and Administrative Associate 718-783-2000 x-342
Bukeni Tete Waruzi Program Coordinator for Africa and the Middle East 718-783-2000 x-307
Milt Curtis Technology Associate 718-783-2000 x-318
Sara Federlein Development Manager, Institutional Relations 718.783.2000 x.304
Sam Gregory Program Director 718.783.2000 x.309
Ryan Kautz Post Production Coordinator 718.783.2000 x.314
Violeta Krasnic Program Coordinator, Europe/Former Soviet Union 718.783.2000 x.312
Rebecca Lichtenfeld Special Projects Associate 718.783.2000 x.319
Grace Lile Archive and Distribution Manager 718.783.2000 x.313
Tamaryn Nelson Program Coordinator, Latin America/Caribbean 718.783.2000 x.308
Bryan Nunez Technology Manager 718.783.2000 x.311
Suvasini Patel Communications & Outreach Manager 718.783.2000 x.316
Jenni Wolfson Acting Executive Director 718.783.2000 ext. 324

CNN’s Report on this travesty of justice:

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) — An Egyptian human rights activist who posted videos about police abuse says YouTube has shut down his account because of complaints that the videos contain “inappropriate material.”

art.wael.abbas.cnn.jpg art.egypt.jpg

Egyptian human rights activist and blogger Wael Abbas says YouTube has suspended his account.

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Wael Abbas, an award-winning anti-torture watchdog, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been 100 videos posted on his account containing images of torture, police brutality, demonstrations, strikes, sit-ins and election irregularities.

Now, material he had posted is no longer available on the popular video-sharing Web site, he said.

Abbas said YouTube sent him an e-mail saying they had suspended his account.

“They didn’t ask me to remove it. They said ‘Your account isn’t working,’ ” he said. Video Watch Abbas’ complaints about YouTube »

When asked about Abbas, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We take these matters very seriously, but we don’t comment on individual videos.”

YouTube regulations state that “graphic or gratuitous violence” is not allowed and violations of the Terms of Use could result in the ending of an account and deleting all of the videos in it.

“YouTube prohibits inappropriate content on the site, and our community effectively polices the site for inappropriate material,” the spokesperson said. “Users can flag content that they feel is inappropriate and once it is flagged it is reviewed by our staff and removed from the system within minutes if it violates our Community Guidelines or Terms of Use. We also disable the accounts of repeat offenders.”

Abbas agreed that some of the videos were “graphic,” but said strong images underscore the issue of abuse and make an “impact on public opinion.”

He said the graphic images he posted had an impact like the photos and videos of Abu Ghraib prison that emerged in 2004 showing mistreatment of detainees by U.S. troops and stoking international outrage.

“We managed to direct the attention of the people to something that was taboo, something that was never discussed before, which is police brutality and torture inside police stations,” said Abbas, referring to his videos.

The 33-year-old Abbas also operates one of Egypt‘s best known blogs, misrdigital.com, which owes its popularity in part to its frequent postings about police abuse.

In one prominent incident, Abbas posted a video on his blog of a police officer binding and sodomizing an Egyptian bus driver who intervened in a dispute between police and another driver.

The video was one of the factors that led to the conviction of two police officers, who were sentenced to three years each in connection with the incident.

“It’s the first time Egyptian people saw something like that,” Abbas said, referring to beatings and torture. “It was a shock to the Egyptian people.”

The blogger, who said he’s in a “state of shock” because he lost videos he’s uploaded for years, said he might resort to campaigning against YouTube.

“We thought that YouTube was our ally,” Abbas said. “It helped show the truth in countries like Burma. … With what they did now, it doesn’t seem like that anymore,” he said.

Abbas said he has also had a problem with Yahoo! because it shut down two of his e-mail accounts, accusing him of being a spammer.

The International Center for Journalists recently awarded a Knight International Journalism Award to Abbas for his work.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptA fellow blogger 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, … […]

  2. […] New York Information Tourist Blog placed an interesting blog post on YouTube & Yahoo Silence Human Rights Activist Misr Digital […]

  3. After a weekend where NBC sent an intimidating message to recently galvanized

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