The decision by an Egyptian court to ban YouTube in the country for one month due to its continued hosting of an anti-Islamic film has attracted harsh criticism from human rights organisations, online activists, and disgruntled users of the video-sharing website.(...)
"It makes no sense to ban all of YouTube because of one film; the film is just a pretext. They are testing Egyptian society's reaction to such verdicts, using religion as a pretext to facilitate imposing such restrictions," says Salma Said, member of the whistle-blowing citizen-journalist collective Mosireen, whose main film depository is a YouTube channel.
Said maintains that the decision is an attempt by the state to restrict access to politically sensitive information provided by sites like YouTube in recent years.(...)
Mohamed Al-Ansari, legal researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, condemns the verdict as being in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Egypt is a signatory, which guarantees freedom of expression and information.
Al-Ansari adds that the decision to shut down YouTube in its entirety is such a disproportional response to the unrest caused by the video, six months after the events, that it can only be seen as an attack on free expression.