Yesterday, Advocacy Director Sami Ben Gharbia, who is also co-founder of the Tunisian news site Nawaat, reported that Nawaat was no longer able to upload YouTube videos to their site, after YouTube staff determined that a video they were trying to upload contained “objectionable content.” Ben Gharbia posted the message received by Nawaat, which read:
The following video(s) from your account have been disabled for violating the YouTube Community Guidelines:
Tunise : enfants des zones défavorisées (Nawaat)
While it might not seem fair to say you can’t show something because of what viewers theoretically might do in response, we draw the line at content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous, illegal activities that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. It’s not okay to post videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug abuse, under-age drinking and smoking, or bomb making. Any depictions like these should be educational or documentary and shouldn’t be designed to help or encourage others to imitate them.
This is the second Community Guidelines warning sanction your account has received within six months. Accordingly, the ability to post new content to YouTube from this account has been disabled and will not return until two weeks after you acknowledge this message. Please review the YouTube Community Guidelines and refrain from further violations, which may result in the termination of your account(s).
The video in question shows a group of young Tunisian children sniffing glue and discussing the practice, which is common amongst disadvantaged youth in Tunisia and is considered to be an extremely dangerous gateway drug. This video is thought to be the first citizen video to document the practice in Tunisia.
In Ben Gharbia's Nawaat post, he points out that other videos potentially in violation of YouTube's terms of service, including one that infamously depicted the death of Iranian Neda Agha-Soltan and several that show the recent death of Georgian Olympic luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili.
Photo-sharing site Flickr has a similar policy that came under fire in 2007 after Dutch photographer Maarten Dors complained that a photo of his, which showed a young Romanian boy smoking a cigarette, had been removed. Flickr later reinstated the photo and apologized to Dors.