Friday, February 22, 2013

Uploading Offensives Material: Illegal?

The introduction of the internet has greatly increased the ease of communicating between individuals.  This brings many advantages to internet users; however it also poses many potential problems such as the availability of sensitive material.  This article describes an Egyptian, Saber, who was put in jail for three years because he uploaded a Californian video portraying “Mohammed in an unfavorable light.” In addition to this, the police failed to protect his family from an outraged mob.  The article is of a letter from the host organization to the president of Egypt, arguing that the harsh verdict was due to discrimination, and that it should be reversed.

I think it was wrong that Saber was arrested for uploading an unpopular video, as that was within his right to free speech. As Egypt signed the “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” which protects the freedom of speech, he legally had that right. I understand that the government wouldn't want the majority of its population to be criticized, however, uploading an unoriginal video doesn't make him guilty of “‘blasphemy and contempt of religion.”’ He denied supporting the message of the video, which begs the question: Does taking advantage of the technological ability to upload someone else’s work mean that you support it? I think that it depends on where it was uploaded and what context it was placed in.  If he had commented: “See what terrible things they say in America”, below the video, I might agree that he didn't support the anti-Islamism ideas.  However, as there is not more information I can’t make any informed conclusions as to his true position.  

Secondly, the police should have provided sufficient protection for his family when they requested aid.  It’s the police’s duty to maintain order and uphold the law for everyone, not just some people.  Thus, not everyone’s rights were respected equally.   

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