Egypt Appeals Court's Month-Long Ban On YouTube
February 18, 2013

YouTube Ban Appealed By Egyptian Officials And Advocacy Group

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Egyptian officials have appealed a court ruling banning the video-sharing website YouTube for 30 days as punishment for carrying an anti-Islamic film, various media outlets have reported.

According to the Associated Press (AP), representatives from the country´s telecommunications ministry, as well as officials from a free-speech advocacy group, have requested that the court reverse a previous ruling that would have required the government to block all access to the website for one month.

That punishment, which according to Chris Welch of The Verge was handed down in response for YouTube´s hosting of a controversial video that denigrated the Prophet Mohammad.

Officials with the ministry argued that blocking access to YouTube to all of the nation´s 79 million citizens for an entire month would be too costly, and that they could not monitor the content of social websites, Press TV added.

“Advocacy group Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) has also appealed the February 9th court order, describing the request as ℠a collective punishment of all YouTube and Google service users,´” Welch reported.

“In its appeal“¦ AFTE explained that banning these websites will deprive internet users from the right of expressing themselves on those sites as well as depriving them of an important means of expression, which is not acceptable, considering that protection of freedom of expression extends to involve all forms of expression and is not limited to one form only,” the organization said in a statement.

At the heart of the controversy is what Reuters refers to as a “low-budget,” YouTube video entitled Innocence of Muslims. The video, which was created in California and privately funded, portrays the Prophet Mohammad as “a food and a sexual deviant” and sparked riots not only in Cairo but throughout the Muslim world.

“Because the Google-owned YouTube has refused to pull ℠Innocence of Muslims´ from its site except in countries that have outlawed it, Egypt originally made the decision decided to block the entire site nationwide,” Eric Brown of International Business Times said.

“The Egyptian court stated that YouTube ℠insisted on broadcasting the film insulting Islam and the Prophet, disrespecting the beliefs of millions of Egyptians and disregarding the anger of all Muslims,” he added. “´Innocence of Muslims´ has been a huge thorn in YouTube´s side for the past few months. Despite the outrage, Google seems determined to allow the film online as a free speech issue.”