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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Anti-Islamic Film Censored by YouTube

After the release of a controversial film “Innocence of Muslims”, a few people even died in protests against it. Today, YouTube service has blocked the movie in Saudi Arabia, as was requested by Saudi ruler King Abdullah.

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The authorities of Saudi Arabia threatened to block the most popular streaming service in the world throughout the entire territory in case YouTube refused to block access to the film “Innocence of Muslims”.

First of all, the streaming portal was approached by the White House with a request to block the movie, but YouTube refused. However, then the movie couldn’t be accessed by the states where such content was illegal, including Egypt and India. Finally, King Abdullah claimed that the streaming service was going to block the movie in Saudi Arabia in case Google didn’t agree to remove the links to it.

Moreover, the Communications and Information Technology Commission of the Saudi Arabia has even asked for the help of Saudi citizens to report any remaining links. Unsurprisingly, the Russian government also joined the request of removing the film. While the Russian courts are trying to come to a final decision on whether such content can be considered “extremist”, YouTube has already been banned by all ISPs in some regions of Russia under the request of the local authorities. The Russians are nearly shocked – because of this video, all of YouTube could soon be blocked throughout the entire country.

In response, a YouTube representative claimed that the portal was working hard to build a community that everyone can enjoy, which enables people to express different opinions. The movie in question is of course widely available elsewhere online and is definitely within the company’s guidelines, and therefore will stay on the portal. In the meantime, YouTube showed respect to the countries where such content is against the law, like India and Indonesia, by blocking access to the file there. YouTube’s approach to the problem is consistent with its corporate principles that the service first laid out five years ago.

Although Google, which owns YouTube, tries to consider local cultures and needs while creating and introducing its global product policies, it still can’t be arbiter of what appears online.

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