Egypt To Block YouTube For One Month
A woman demonstrates YouTube services on the Xbox game console at the Microsoft E3 XBOX 360 press briefing in Los Angeles, California June 6, 2011. Credit:Reuters
Reuters reported on Saturday that "Innocence of Muslims," a short video that is reported to be a trailer for a film that has yet to show up on comprehensive movie website Internet Movie Database, is the root cause behind Egypt's banning YouTube nationwide for one month.
The Egyptian government has been fervently outspoken about YouTube's broadcasting of the video it feels to be denigrating to its culture and tenets of its sacred religious affiliation, represented by such provocations as the depiction of prophet Mohammed as a foolish sexual degenerate.
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The ruling will go into effect as soon as a copy of the boycott verdict is received by Egypt's National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.
At 14 minutes in length, the highly controversial "Innocence of Muslims" was made in the United States and can only be viewed on YouTube - where it was uploaded on Sept. 2012 - after users agree to proceed to its screening subsequent to a discretionary page stating, "The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised."
Regardless of the obvious fact that the parody teaser trailer is receiving far more recognition than it might deserve considering its lack of professionalism on par with a student film version of soft-core porn, Egypt's government remains staunch in its demand that "Innocence of Muslims" be removed by YouTube.
"The film insult[s] Islam and the Prophet, disrespect[s] the beliefs of millions of Egyptians and [YouTube is] disregarding the anger of all Muslims" said Egypt's administrative court, according to MENA [Middle East and North Africa's academic, military planning, and business writing].
YouTube's owner Google claimed, via representative in Cairo (Maha Abouelenein), that it has not yet received any formal notification about the ruling.
Instigating a heated debate over Freedom of Speech, the video has already led to violent protests with a toll of hundreds of injuries and more than 75 deaths. In addition to a bounty being offered for the death of 56-year-old producer Mark Basseley Youssef (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile under which the video is purported to have been made), fatwas have been issued against others involved in the video's noticeably slipshod production.
On Nov. 7, 2012, Youssef was sentenced to one year in prison and four years of "supervised release" after pleading guilty to his gratuitous use of acronyms and false statements made about his minor opus.
Youssef was born in Egypt, speaks Arabic (an Egyptian dialect), and told Voice of America's Radio Sawa that he graduated from Cairo University's Faculty of Arts. He also considers himself a "researcher of Islamic thought."
It is unknown whether or not the arguably unwarranted publicity Youssef has received will allow him to finish his "epic" that he envisions being a two-hour full-length feature. Rumors abound that said iteration in fact already exists and was shown only once, to an audience of less then ten people, at a rented theater in Hollywood.
A long-held interpretation of the First Amendment by the U.S. Supreme Court eschews government regulation on such topics as blasphemy since its renown Joseph Burstyn, Incorporated v. Wilson Commissioner of Education of New York, et al verdict was made in 1952.
The liberal interpretation was confirmed again on the topic of hate speech during its 1977 landmark case of National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie.
"As a Nation we have chosen a different course-to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate," the Court affirmed in casting its verdict for 2011's Snyder v. Phelps.
Author Salman Rushdie, who famously dealt with a fatwa of his own after the 1988 publication of his provocative "The Satanic Verses," told New York Times' Bill Keller last September that his opinion on the matter is thus:
"I think it's very important that we hold our ground. It's very important to say, 'We live like this.' Terrible ideas, reprehensible ideas, do not disappear if you ban them. They go underground. They acquire a kind of glamour of taboo. In the harsh light of day, they are out there and, like vampires, they die in the sunlight."