lundi 11 février 2013

YouTube banned in Egypt for one month

YouTube banned in Egypt for one month

YouTube banned in Egypt for one month

Posted: 10 Feb 2013 11:04 AM PST

This Saturday, a Cairo court ordered to block access to the most popular video-sharing website on the Internet, Youtube, for one month(30 days to be more precise), because on this very website an anti-Islam film was posted, apparently becoming the cause for deadly riots across the globe.

The judge who made this decision was Hassouna Tawfiq, ordering YouTube to be blocked for the sole reason that it was carrying the video, which he described it as "offensive to Islam and the Prophet(Muhammad)." The actual repercussions were protests that spreaded to more than 20 countries, that killed over 50 civilians.

But, having in thought that this is YouTube, this ruling can be appealed, and if it's based on precedent, it might not be enforced after all. A spokeswoman from Google stated that the company had "received nothing from the judge or government related to this matter."

The movie is called "Innocence of Muslims" and it presents Muhammad as a womanizer,a pedophile and a religious fraud" and it was produced in US; and as by the new constitution of Egypt, insulting "religious messengers and prophets" is strictly forbidden.

Even tough it seems easy to block YouTube, apparently Egypt's ministry of communications and information technology doesn't want to enforce such thing. Gamal Eid,who is a human rights lawyer has the opinion that this decision to ban YouTube comes from a lack in knowledge of how the Internet works and that the judges knowledge of Internet and technology is poor: "The judges do not realize that one wrong post on a website does not mean you have to block the entire website." So,it should be made clear that only certain pages can and should be banned, in our case, the simple video removal would have been more than enough.

And in this direction, Google blocked but didn't removed the video in Egypt, Libya and Indonesia and some other countries because it broke the laws only there. Also, since the protests in September, the website was ordered blocked in Iran, Pakistan and Afganistan.

As a side note, besides YouTube there are two other somewhat related cases that are pending in Egyptian courts, one of them calling for a blocking on the famous Google search engine and fining the company $2 billion fine.

What do you think of this decision? Is it too harsh?

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