After an offensive video posted on youtube.com about the Prophet Muhammad, Egyptian court rules that YouTube is to be shut down for a month. This video was posted on YouTube in September and show Muhammad as sexually deviant and acting foolishly, criticized by many as “blasphemous”. Thirteen minutes long and filmed in California, the video was privately funded and made to seem as if it were a movie trailer.
This video instigated many anti-American outcries especially in Egypt, Libya and many other Muslim countries. Triggering violent protests in Egypt resulting in 224 injuries and in Libya, a United States ambassador and three embassy staff were killed.
Upon hearing of these incidents, YouTube refused to take down the video but blocked it from these countries.
Since the court ordered the ministries of communication and investment to block YouTube, this one-month shut down of YouTube, several appeals have been filed. Several filers argue that by shutting down YouTube, which is owned by Google, would severely affect the search engine. Other filers claim that it would be difficult and/or nearly impossible to shut down the site for all of Egypt, as Egypt is the second highest biggest user in the Middle East.
Would shutting down one website for one month effectively block offensive videos? Of course not, while YouTube is the most popular video sharing website, there are plenty of others that Egyptians could use instead. If in fact this ban is upheld, will this set precedent for other countries to block websites they find offensive? Imposing the all-important question; can governments regulate the Internet? If so, should they?