YouTube denies Egypt’s request to remove sexual assault video, decision met with criticism – Al-Tahrir News Network


The request by Egypt to remove the video that displays the violent sexual assault of an Egyptian woman has been denied by Google’s video-sharing website YouTube.

Egypt’s ambassador to the US Mohamed Tawfik along with other high-ranking officials have had their formal request denied after filing to remove a graphic video showing a young Egyptian woman being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square. The video went viral after it was uploaded to the video-sharing website on 8 June.

The video was met with outrage from women’s rights organisations and government figures prompting the country’s new president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to demand that the Ministry of Interior implement uncompromising strategies to quell the rampant issue of sexual harassment across the country.

YouTube’s decision to only remove videos in which the victim could be identified, allowing others in which her face is blurred to continue to be viewed, has also prompted strong criticism against the Google-owned video-sharing website.

“I find YouTube’s decision absolutely offensive,” a young Egyptian woman who wished to remain anonymous told TNN. “How would you like it if someone raped you, took a video of it, uploaded it to YouTube for the world to see, and then allowed the video to be seen countless times as long as your face is blurred? Would you like that?” the young woman added.

YouTube’s policy for removing videos has been the subject of criticism in the past.

The video-sharing website removed “The Innocence of Muslims”, a video which sparked violent protests globally for offensively depicting Islam, though only after a California court ordered its removal in 2014 due to copyright infringement. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had previously ordered the video be removed in 2012 though YouTube denied compliance by citing that the content did not contravene its terms of service.

YouTube also took down a video entitled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” which showed the young college student, who killed 6 people and wounded 13 others, speaking about his plans to enact revenge against the women who denied him.

Though YouTube’s Terms of Use explicitly state that “sexually explicit content” and “graphic or gratuitous violence” is banned, the video-sharing website continues to host versions of the Tahrir Square sexual assault video, albeit with the victim’s face blurred.