Egypt Bans YouTube For One Month Over Anti-Islamic Short Film

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Egypt’s top administrative court ruled that regulators must ban YouTube for one month after the online video streaming site allowed the short film, Innocence Of Muslims, to remain public after several parties protested that the film had denigrated the Prophet Mohammad, according to Reuters.

On YouTube, the 13-minute controversial video that was promoted as a film trailer. It was reported that the film was made in California with privately funded with no official backing. At the time, it was the catalyst for considerable anti-American unrest across the Middle East when it debuted back in 2012. More than 30 lives were lost during the protests, according to The Guardian.

A lawyer who filed the case spoke with the news outlet and revealed that it was ordered to Ministry of Communications and Information Technology by a lower administrative court to block YouTube over the video when it was first released. However, for the last five years due to repeated appeals, the case was in limbo and its ruling stayed during the appeal process.

At the time, the ministry said that it would be incredibly difficult to enforce this particular ruling without disrupting Google’s search engine, in addition to incurring major costs and job loss in the country.

It was reported by Reuters that YouTube is working in Egypt as of 8:50 a.m. EST.

The rulings of this case will be final and cannot be appealed in the future.

YouTube banned in Egypt
YouTube presumed to be banned in Egypt for month month following a verdict against anti-Islamic video.Featured image credit: 682866529Shutterstock

Freedom of speech laws prevented U.S. authorities from halting the production of the material, according to officials.

The first to appeal against the verdict given was Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), according to the International Business Times. According to prosecuting lawyer Mohamed Hamed, this time around, the NTRA will not be able to alter the verdict which would be “final, unappealable, and enforceable.”

Hamed said that the ruling is a punishment for YouTube and it will cost massive economic losses, according to the Khaleej Times.

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Several requests to remove the movie from YouTube were made from those opposing the movie.

“The NTRA is responsible for implementing the ban and there is no technical difficulty to do so. I will file a lawsuit against the NTRA chief if the ban is not implemented.”

In a statement, Google said that they had restricted access to the video from the countries that the film is illegal to view. The countries included were India, Indonesia, Libya, and Egypt.

Google maintained that their approach is consistent with the principals they have implemented since 2007.

It is still uncertain as to when the ban will go into effect.

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According to Endgaget, the ban has lost its intended effect because YouTube has already made major changes to their policies by filtering out content that the community deems to be offensive or inappropriate. Therefore, the ban could be seen as more of a “symbolic punishment,” rather than an effort to make YouTube alter its policies.

Between the months of October and December 2017, YouTube removed 8.3 million videos, according to their community guidelines enforcement report.

YouTube revealed that they are releasing a quarterly enforcement report in order to “show the progress [it’s] making in removing violative content from [its] platform.”