Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Egyptian Court Gives YouTube A Time Out Over Controversial Film

Time OutGoogle’s video site YouTube has been blocked from Egypt for one month as a result of its hosting of an anti-Islamic video.

According to a Reuters report, an administrative court order government ministries to block YouTube from being viewed in the country for its role, such as it was, in hosting the controversial video “Innocence of Muslims.” The film, said to have been made by an Egyptian born US resident named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who used the pseudonym “Sam Bacile.”

The case had been brought months ago when the controversy about the film erupted and brought on some violent protests against American embassies consulates in several countries including Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, and even Greece and India. At the time Google had blocked access to the video in Libya and Egypt, which seems not to have made a difference to the court. A spokeswoman in Cairo told Reuters that company hadn’t received official notice of the ruling.

The thing is, it’s also sort of convenient timing. The government of President Mohamed Morsi has been besieged by protests for several weeks, protests in which Internet tools like YouTube and Facebook have tended to be a frequent information-sharing and coordination tool.

Since Egypt’s revolution began YouTube has been widely used to distribute videos of crackdowns on protesters. And last month Mohammed El Baradei, and former UN official and founder a leading political voice there turned to YouTube to call for renewed protests on the anniversary of the start of the uprising that ultimately toppled Longtime president Hosni Mubarak. During that period, Egypt infamously blocked Internet access in and out of the country.


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”