A court in Cairo, Egypt ordered Saturday (Feb. 9) that the government block access to YouTube for 30 days for the site carrying an anti-Islam film that has caused rioting around the world, reports the AP.
The judge describes the video as “offensive to Island and the Prophet [Muhammad].” The 14-minute trailer for the movie “Innocence of Muslims” portrays the Prophet as a womanizer, pedophile and religious fraud. It was made in the U.S. by an Egyptian-born Christian who is a U.S. citizen.
Egypt’s new constitution bans insults directed towards “religious messengers and prophets,” though it remains to be seen if YouTube can actually be blocked in the country. Orders to block pornographic websites have not been enforced in the country because of how expensive the technical aspects of a blockage would be.
A spokeswoman for YouTube’s parent company, Google, says in a statement that they have not yet received anything from the judge or government in this matter.
Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid tells the AP that this decision stems largely from the judge’s lack of knowledge regarding the internet.
“This verdict shows that judges’ understanding of technology is
weak,” says Eid. “The judges do not realize that one wrong post on a
website does not mean you have to block the entire website.”
Google has declined requests to remove the vieo entirely from YouTube, but has restricted access to it in certain countries where it violates those country’s laws, including Egypt, Libya and Indonesia.