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Egypt’s telecoms ministry appeals YouTube block

Warwick Ashford

The Egyptian telecommunication’s ministry and a human rights group have filed appeals against a court order to block YouTube.

Last week, a judge in Egypt ordered the government to block access to Google’s video-sharing website for 30 days for carrying a video that sparked violent riots last year.

In September 2012, a lawyer filed a case demanding the ban of YouTube over its use by individuals to broadcast sections of a video.

Google temporarily blocked YouTube users in Libya and Egypt from viewing clips of the film Innocence of Muslims after the death of the US ambassador to Libya during protests over the video.

The Egyptian telecoms ministry said it cannot block access to YouTube because of high technical costs, according to The Washington Times.

The ministry said it could not monitor the content of social media websites legally.

At the weekend, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) in Egypt announced it had filed an appeal against the order.

AFTE said the order was effectively a “collective punishment” of all YouTube and Google service users because it is impossible to ban YouTube without also banning all other internet services provided by Google.

“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 group said.

AFTE added that YouTube is an international platform used by individuals worldwide to post and exchange widely variable visual material, whether scientific, artistic, cultural or religious.

“It is difficult to accept that such website be closed because one if its contents was met with disapproval of the court or the claimant,” AFTE said.


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