Bolo Bhi’s Submission to Court in YouTube Case: August 2 (Part 1)

Writ Petition 958-2013

BytesforAll vs Federation

Date: August 2, 2013

Submitted to: Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah

                             Lahore High Court

Honourable Sir,

During the hearing held on July 25, 2013, you raised the question whether there is data available on how much educational content is available on YouTube. Below is an attempt to provide a brief overview of existing academic/educational content we have been able to put together in a week’s time. This is not representative of everything that may be available, but this submission references some of the popular academic content hosted there internationally and from Pakistan.

Also attached to this submission is an ‘Internet Usage Study’ Bolo Bhi carried out after the hearing. A report on the data collected over the 6-day period is included for reference (Annex A).

Submitted by:

Farieha Aziz (amicus)

Director, Bolo Bhi


Based on a rudimentary analysis of only a limited number of YouTube channels and publicly available data, the following table summarizes categorized viewership of YouTube videos:

Additionally, more than 1 Billion unique users visit YouTube each month and watch 6 Billion hours of video belonging to all different categories most of which contribute to knowledge acquisition. 70% of that traffic and viewership is from outside of the United States.

*Provided by Khurram Zafar

How is educational content hosted on YouTube useful for students?

YouTube is used by students in Pakistan to satiate their thirst for knowledge. Many a times due to limited time in class, teachers are unable to teach every detail of a subject, so YouTube allows students to learn what cannot be taught in class. Some students use YouTube to find video tutorials, crash courses, documentaries and lectures by professors or vlogs by students to help them with difficulties they encounter in a particular subject in class. The availability of such content on YouTube helps students gain knowledge, learn, understand and revise subjects and topics.

Content on YouTube is not limited age groups – it caters to people across ages. From nursery rhymes for very young children to students pursuing degrees at university, there is a vast range of informative videos available. Among the popular content for children below the age of 10 includes Sesame Street  or Barney, in which they are taught how to share or  be friends with others. Children starting school are taught to count by associating images with numbers or are taught their alphabets by listening to sounds and associating them with visuals of alphabets they see on screen. Examples of where such content is hosted are YouTube channels such as ItsMyAcademy or farfetch125.

Just like content is not limited to specific ages, similarly, the range of content available is also not limited to specific subjects or disciplines. Be it architecture, Literature, Math, arts, engineering, science – students of various disciplines are likely to find content relevant to their area of study. Science students can also see how chemical reactions work through YouTube videos – something that cannot always be done otherwise as some experiments are too dangerous to perform or cannot be carried out due to a lack of resources at local institutes. From middle school children learning arithmetic to marketing students analysing advertisements, there is something for everyone.

The fact that YouTube provides videos for free allows students learn to without time or financial restraints. Instead of being put through the tuition drill, they have easy access to content and professors online. The added advantage is that they can always revisit a video or download it.

What kind of educational content is available there?

As mentioned, there is a diverse range of content available on YouTube. From lectures, seminars, ” how to” videos and documentaries posted by  professionals such as TedTalks, how cast, National Geographic, The Green Brothers, to tutorials on Photoshop, AutoCAD, InDesign, 3DStudioMax and other programs, there is a wide variety to choose from.

Leading universities also have their channels where they post subject-related content. Some examples of these are as follows:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) posts videos related to Physics and Math. Channels such as Userminutephysics post short, minute-long videos explaining physics concepts. hosts a series of videos explaining abstract mathematical concepts. On McGill university’s channel one can find science-related videos. KhanAcademy offers videos especially on science subjects. There are also exercise module videos that help students test their understanding.

Harvard and Stanford university are a few of the prestigious universities that have their own channels on YouTube where they post videos which help students all around the globe.

Coursera, Udacity and Edx offer free-of-cost online courses (MOOCs) in a variety of subjects to large numbers of students from around the world. These courses are certified by prestigious universities. Many lessons involve video content which is again hosted on YouTube, and without successfully completing lessons and assignments, completion certificates for courses are not awarded.

Channels such as Angli-Link and English Tutor Sydney enable students to test their skills in English economics. Similarly, SciShow and Crash Course are weekly educational videos uploaded by John and Hank Green.

Channels such as TEDtalks, which is a series of lectures by successful entrepreneurs, writers, politicians, scientists, artists allows students to learn about people from different  fields with varying expertise, providing a fresh perspective and providing food for thought.

All of the above-mentioned are only a drop in the ocean. If a person were to type a topic in the search bar, thousands of video results would show up related to their search query. However, all these videos are uploaded on YouTube making them inaccessible for students in Pakistan who do not have access to this platform.

Listed below are some international academic YouTube channels, mentioning the number of subscribers and views:

(Channel views represent the number of unique visitors to your channel. They do not represent the number of times a videos has been viewed but the number of times the channel has been visited.)

Channel name: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Subscribers 338245

Channel Views 53,340,050

Channel name: TEDTalk

Subscribers 1330,115

Channel views 197,087,716

Channel Name: Crash Course

Subscribers 839,002

Channel Views 44,220,647

Channel name Minute Physics

Subscribers  1,650,561

Channel views 109,623,079

Channel name PatrickJMT (maths video tutorials)

Subscribers 190,425

Channel views 66,908,665

California Institute of Technology

Channel name: Caltech

Subscribers: 6,519

Viewers 596,702

Harvard University

Channel name:

Subscribers: 95,123

viewers: 16,093,652

Stanford University

Channel name:  Stanford University

Subscribers: 237,641

viewers: 57,259,708

University of Cambridge

Channel name: Cambridge

Subscribers: 24,679

Viewers: 5,849,642

Channel name: Dr. Najeeb Lectures

Subscribers: 55616

Videos: 185

Channel views: 1808221

Channel name : KhanAcademy

Subscribers: 1272294

Channel Views: 286,188,157

What educational content from Pakistan is hosted on YouTube?

Various Pakistani universities maintain their own YouTube channels on which they post videos related to subject and activities. These benefit not just students enrolled at one specific institute but anyone with access to YouTube.

The Institute of Business Management (IBA) posts videos of conferences and seminars they host on campus. Similarly the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) posts documentaries, events and activities that take place on campus well as other videos of lectures by guest speakers.

Virtual University (VU) of Pakistan posts videos on a range of subjects: Accounting, Banking & Finance, Computer Science/Information Technology, Economics, English, Humanities Distribution, Law, Management, Marketing, Mass Communication, Mathematics, Physics, Probability & Statistics, Psychology and Sociology.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), a  professional body of Chartered Accountants in Pakistan posts seminars such on ‘Enhancing Corporate Governance in Public Sector Entities’ and ‘Post Budget Seminars’ on their channel. Videos of ICAP workshops on Audit Practice Manuals are uploaded consistently.

Listed below are some Pakistani academic YouTube channels, mentioning the number of subscribers and views:

(Channel views represent the number of unique visitors to your channel. They do not represent the number of times a videos has been viewed but the number of times the channel has been visited.)

Channel name : Virtual University

Subscribers 13970

Channel views: 11512137

Channel name: The Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan

Subscribers 761

Channel views 111,523

Channel name : Vi Hart (mathemusician at Khan Academy)

Subscribers: 570.575

Channel Views:10,885.235

Lahore University of Management Sciences

Channel name: LifeAtLUMS


Viewers: 44225

Quaid-i-azam University, Islamabad

Channel name: Qauutube

Subscribers 61

Viewers: 8,624

National University of Sciences and Technology

Channel name NUSTCreativeCrew

Subscribers 83

Viewers 99355

*Compiled by Kanwal Asif and Lynette Rodrigues at Bolo Bhi

Annex A

Bolo Bhi Internet Usage Study: Pakistan*

Survey Report – Summary

Bolo Bhi conducted a study from July 26, 2013 to July 31, 2013, on the use of the Internet in Pakistan, in particular the use of video-sharing platforms on the Internet. This survey, lasting six days, received 250 responses of which the highest number of respondents were students  at 41.60%, followed by Professionals, Employed persons, Businesspersons and Self employed persons, which represent 43.20% of the respondents. Academia and Media users are 12%. The remaining 15.2% include Government employees, law enforcement are 3.2% of the sample size.

An overwhelming majority of the respondents are under 35 years of age, representing 88% of the sample.

Form this random sample of participants, the majority of the responses were from those belonging to the18-25 age group, followed by 25-35 age group. This group, as can be seen through the survey, spends the greatest amount of time on the Internet.

While social networking is highly popular at 93.60%, its responses can be clubbed with email, since every Facebook or Twitter account is also an email account at the same time. The same applies to Google+ as every user requires a Gmail account to access Google+.

News represents a significant deal of usage as well and this is also reflected by the immense traffic generated by news sites in Pakistan.  82.80% use the Internet for homework, self-help videos, case studies etc that pertain to academics. Educational usage is higher than pure entertainment usage (82.8% vs 76.8%).

26.4% of the respondents fulfil their religious content needs via the Internet, which is a very high number.

94% of the participants use YouTube, Dailymotion and other video-sharing sites. Out of these, once again, 27.69% access religious content as well. Academic tutorials and lectures are only second to the consumption of music 73.55% vs 80.58%.

However, since these responses are mixed responses and not exclusively use based, it is safe to infer that the number of people accessing YouTube or any other video-sharing site purely for music and movies is very low. All users provided multiple uses, including documentaries, self help videos, news and religious content.

*Prepared with thanks to Imtiaz Noor

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About The Author

Farieha Aziz

Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based, APNS-awardwinning journalist. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi. She has a masters in English literature. She worked with Newsline from July 2007-January 2012 and taught literature to grades 9-12. She served as an amicus curiae in a case filed in the Lahore High Court in 2013, challenging the ban on YouTube, and is currently a petitioner on behalf of Bolo Bhi in a case filed in the Islamabad High Court challenging government's censorship on the Internet and the powers of the regulator. She can be found on Twitter: @FariehaAziz and reached via email:

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