Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kuwait Blocks Youtube

Okay, this is old news and I wasn't able to post this because i was pretty busy for the holidays. Anyway, it's worth a read:

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Communication has issued a memo to all internet service providers in Kuwait asking them to block YouTube access. The popular video website came under fire from the ministry due to content considered offensive to Muslims, a source within the industry told Kuwait Times. The Ministry pointed to content including a video of a man signing verses from the Holy Quran while playing the oud and another video showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

A Fasttelco source confirmed receipt of the memo. "It's supposed to be blocked right now. But due to technical preparations the blocking may take until tomorrow [Monday]," said the source. The site was still accessible yesterday evening. The Ministry of Communication regularly issues memos to ISPs asking them to block certain websites, including those containing pornographic photos or ones like Skype that can be used to make international phone calls over the Internet.

YouTube is widely used in Kuwait. A search of the word 'Kuwait' turned up 59,000 videos, including everything from videos of car crashes on Fahaheel Expressway and Jessica Simpson's concert for US troops in Kuwait to protests in front of Abdullah Al-Salem hall in the run up to the 2006 parliamentary elections.

I'm not for blocking it. One should be able to choose what to watch. The YouTube itself has so many beneficial things that can help people get information and interact with each other," says Abdelatif, a Muslim living in Kuwait. "Censorship equals ignorance as far as I'm concerned. Everything is there, it's up to you to decide what to see or not.

YouTube has an option that allows users to report offensive content. It will then remove content deemed offensive.

The website has been banned or parts of its content blocked by several countries around the world. A Turkish court banned Youtube in March 2007 after Greek and Turkish users posted insulting videos on the website. Thailand banned the video sharing website a month later over content insulting the king. A Brazilian court ordered the website blocked after users posted a video of Brazilian supermodel Daniela Cicarelli having sex on a beach with banker boyfriend Renato Malzoni. The court decision was later reve
rsed and YouTube can now be accessed from Brazil.

Content offensive to Muslims and considered insulting to Islam however led Pakistan in early 2008 to ban YouTube. Both Iran and the United Arab Emirates block controversial content on the video sharing site. The UAE also censors content in photo sharing site Flickr. Blocking a website, though, has limited effect as most Internet users are savvy enough to use proxy services to access banned content.

Published Date: September 22, 2008
By Jamie Etheridge
Kuwait Times

1 comment:

the spool artist said...

that sucks big time! what's next on their blocking list... blogspot?