Egyptian ban on YouTube appealed by regulator

The ban on YouTube in Egypt for an amateur video insulting Islamic Prophet Muhammad has been appealed by authorities in the country.

HumanIPO reported on Wednesday YouTube had been banned over controversial film “Innocence of Muslims”, which judge Hassouna Tawfiq called “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad)”.

The banning sparked claims of reducing freedom of expression and media censorship and now the regulator has weighed in to the debate by claiming it would be extremely difficult to enforce.

“The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has presented an appeal to halt implementation of the verdict,” said the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in a statement.

The Ministry added: “The government cannot carry out the contents of the verdict within Egypt’s borders.”

This is because authorities are only able to block the offending film and not the entire video sharing site. The blocking of the film in the country has already been carried out.

The privately funded, 13-minute Californian-based amateur film sparked a surge of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and other Muslim countries because the film portrays the Prophet as a sexual deviant and a fool.

It is considered blasphemous for the Muslim community at large to portray Prophet Muhammad in any form.

Furthermore, the Ministry stressed: “Blocking YouTube would affect the search engine of Google, of which Egypt is the second biggest user in the Middle East.”

The Ministry said this would affect many jobs as well as cripple the economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of Egyptian pounds (tens of millions of US dollars).

Google said in a statement it had already created a simple mechanism which enables authorities to request content that is deemed illegal to be blocked.

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