A Cairo court has ordered the government to block access to the YouTube website for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world, but the ruling can be appealed and based on precedent may not be enforced.
Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying a 14-minute trailer for the movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which portrays Islam’s central figure Prophet Muhammad as a religious fraud, womaniser and pedophile.
The film, which was produced by an Egyptian-born Christian who’s now a US citizen, sparked deadly protests that killed more than 50 people in more than 20 countries last year.
In the past, a similar order to ban pornographic websites deemed offensive in Egypt has not been enforced because of high costs associated with technical applications, although blocking YouTube may be easier to enforce.
YouTube’s parent company, Google, declined to remove the video from the website last year, but restricted access to it in certain countries, including Egypt, Libya and Indonesia, because it says the video broke laws in those countries.
At the height of the protests, YouTube was ordered blocked in several countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued an order blocking all websites with access to the anti-Islam film in the conservative kingdom.
Lawyer Mohammed Hamid Salim, who filed the lawsuit in Cairo, alleged the film constitutes a threat to Egypt’s security. Protesters in Cairo scaled the US Embassy’s walls and brought down the US flag in a demonstration against the film last September. Street clashes ensued for days around the embassy.