Middle East

YouTube selectively restricts access to anti-Islam film

Filipino Muslims prepare to burn an altered American flag during a rally at Marawi city in southern Philippines Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 to protest an anti-Islam video which has gone viral on YouTube. The film sparked protests in some parts of the Muslim world. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: People in Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Libya and India have lost access to the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims,” following moves by Google and YouTube.

Google has begun barring access in Malaysia to the film that has sparked fury across the Muslim world after the country’s Internet regulator lodged an official complaint.

The low-budget “Innocence of Muslims” has angered followers of Islam for mocking the Prophet Mohammad. A spokesman for video-sharing site YouTube, owned by Internet giant Google, told AFP Monday that it began restricting access in line with its community guidelines.

“When videos breach those rules, we remove them. Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we will restrict access to it after a thorough review,” he said.

YouTube has also begun restricting access to videos of the film in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, according to an Indonesian government official.

“Google, which is YouTube’s parent company, emailed us Thursday evening to say it had blocked Indonesia’s access to 16 URLs related to the “Innocence of Muslims” videos on the site,” Communications and Information Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto told AFP.

Besides Indonesia, Google has denied access to the video in Libya, Egypt and India.

Also, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office said Monday it will ask the courts to outlaw the film as “extremist and offending believers.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 18, 2012, on page 9.




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