Statement on Bangladesh Blocking YouTube

One week ago, in the face of the violence that killed over 60 people, I praised the Government of Bangladesh. Why? Because they showed a measured,  fair, and just response and (equally important) the Government of Bangladesh did not resort to censoring the internet. People were free and clear to use whatever site they wished… until now.

As reported by many people on Twitter, some Bangladesh-based blogs, and as personally verified by me over a 24 hour period from two different cities and various ISPs, Bangladesh appears to be blocking access to YouTube. If you are tech savvy, there are (legal) ways you can bypass this, but for the average person with an internet connection – YouTube is more or less blocked.

I still hold out hope that this is some weird, multi-city, multi-ISP glitch that has caused this. Because I still hold hope that Bangladesh will not pursue the route that many of its neighbors in this region have pursued by blocking the free flow of information. Yes, I realize that such a free flow of information will always be a security risk. But, it has also done a lot of good – and this project is a testament to that.

Using nothing but a laptop, a camcorder, and access to YouTube – I have been able to show first hand the struggles of those who survived Cyclone Sidr, I have been able to break stereotypes by showing that the poorest of the poor (especially in Bangladesh) are some of the hardest working people on the planet, and, most importantly, we’ve been able to touch and help a great many people.

I’ve seen how YouTube can be used as a force for good. If this indeed an official government position to block YouTube, Bangladesh will ultimately lose more than it will gain.

8 Responses to “Statement on Bangladesh Blocking YouTube”


  1. 1 Arleen Zank

    Shawn,

    Please be careful. Your good work is too important to be jeopardized by the politics of the region. Censorship seeks to stifle the good works of those who seek a better life and to pursue human freedom. I commend your willingness to speak the truth on behalf of those without a voice. Your work is amazing. Godspeed in your travels and in your work.

  2. 2 Arleen Zank

    Shawn,

    Please be careful. Your good work is too important to be jeopardized by the politics of the region. Censorship seeks to stifle the good works of those who seek a better life and to pursue human freedom. I commend your willingness to speak the truth on behalf of those without a voice. Your work is amazing. Godspeed in your travels and in your work.

  3. 3 Lulu

    Hey Shawn, I sent you a tweet today about http://beta.twiddeo.com/ I think maybe you could use this to post videos for a while. Good Luck in your work…

  4. 4 Lulu

    Hey Shawn, I sent you a tweet today about http://beta.twiddeo.com/ I think maybe you could use this to post videos for a while. Good Luck in your work…

  5. 5 Azmi Jahan

    YouTube is now unblocked in Bangladesh.

  6. 6 Azmi Jahan

    YouTube is now unblocked in Bangladesh.

  7. 7 GAZI NAFI

    hey, long time no see

    the block was temporary… it was just to stop people listening to some audio recordings of the prime minister n the army’s meeting on the rebellion. the recordings were about how the actions to save the victims in 25th february were weak and so on.

    yet the internet is very safe here in bd. this ain a communist country like china, dont worry about censorship or anything

  8. 8 GAZI NAFI

    hey, long time no see

    the block was temporary… it was just to stop people listening to some audio recordings of the prime minister n the army’s meeting on the rebellion. the recordings were about how the actions to save the victims in 25th february were weak and so on.

    yet the internet is very safe here in bd. this ain a communist country like china, dont worry about censorship or anything

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