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SC takes notice of ‘objectionable content’ on YouTube, hints at banning video sharing platform

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took notice of “objectionable content” being shared on YouTube and other social media platforms.

The SC hinted at banning YouTube in Pakistan while hearing the case of a man, Shaukat Ali, involved in a sectarian crime.

In this regard, SC has issued notices to the Foreign Office and the Attorney General.

The bail petition of man accused of a sectarian crime was heard by a three-member bench, comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, and Justice Aminud Din Khan.

During the hearing, Justice Amin remarked that the public had a right to comment on the judiciary’s performance and judgments but social media “did not even spare their families and shamed the judges”.

“They become ‘uncles’ on social media and incite people against the Pakistan Army, judiciary and government,” he said, adding that the judiciary “has no objection to the right to freedom of speech”.

“Our salaries come from the public’s money, [but] the Constitution gives us the right to our private lives.”

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Justice Amin said that the top court had announced a judgment on a case a day earlier which was then discussed on YouTube. “We are showing patience, but this has to come to an end.”

Justice Amin asked whether the Federal Investigation Agency and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had seen what was happening on YouTube.

“There are several countries where YouTube is banned. Try uploading content against America and the European Union,” he said.

Justice Alam remarked that “many countries control social media through local laws”.

PTA authorities, present in court, replied that they could not remove “individual content but could only report it”.

The hearing was adjourned for an indefinite period.

Saman Siddiqui

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