Egypt court bans YouTube for a month

Ahram Online, Saturday 9 Feb 2013

A court orders the Egyptian government to ban all websites that published the controversial anti-Islam film for a period of one month, including the popular video sharing portal, YouTube

Protesters destroy an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo September 11, 2012(Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s administrative court on Saturday ordered the ban of YouTube in the country for a month for not removing the controversial anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Islam.

The court’s verdict also applies to any website that aided in the sharing of the 13-minute film.

The lawsuit was filed in September by Egyptian attorney Hamed Salem amid rage and protests across the Muslim world where hundreds were injured in Egypt after a film mocking the prophet Mohamed was shared on social networks.

In his filing, Salem presses for Egypt’s prime minister; minister of information; communications and information technology and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to ban YouTube and social media sites until they remove all anti-Islam content.

Salem charges that such films were created to distort the image of religion and the prophet in children’s minds.

"If we don't stop these videos, they will only appear with increasing frequency," Salem told Ahram Online in September, condemning YouTube for allowing the film while "they don't allow any videos insulting to Jews."

Protests against the film had turned violent in some countries leaving at least 70 dead, including US ambassador in Libya Christopher Stevens.

On 29 January, an Egyptian court slapped seven alleged makers of the film with death sentences and American Pastor Terry Jones a five-year jail term in absentia.

Attorney Salem has filed several controversial lawsuits, including one that resulted in a ban on the Egypt Today talk show hosted by anti-revolution figure Tawfiq Okasha. Another such lawsuit demanded that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s two sons be stripped of their Egyptian citizenship since they also hold US nationality.

In Pakistan where there at at least 31 million internet user, YouTube was blocked by orders of the Prime Minister Rava Pershez Ashraf since September after YouTube refused to withdraw the film which the government considered 'Blasphemous'.

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