Google denies White House’s request to delete anti-Muslim video from YouTube

The White House has requested Google to obliterate an anti-Islamic video clip labelled “Innocence of Muslims” from its online video sharing site, YouTube. The said video allegedly ignited violent protests across the Arab countries, resulting demise to four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. But despite the controversy, Google has denied the request.

The White House on Friday said it has questioned YouTube regarding the publication of an anti-Islamic film excerpt, which purportedly stirred up the present mass demonstrations in the Middle East. The White House wanted the company to review whether the film has breached its terms of use.

The controversial film has been criticized by both the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church and Muslims, saying it is apparently repulsive and blasphemous.

In respond to this, YouTube released a statement on Friday, saying the video is definitely within their guidelines, hence, it will remain on the site. In fact, the video is still widely available online, yet with some restrictions.

While Google had refused White House’s prior request to obscure “Innocence of Muslims” video from YouTube, access to the clip is restricted in some Muslim countries, including Libya, Egypt, India and Indonesia.

In its Friday statement, YouTube has elucidated certain points that made them decide to keep the video on its website and make it still accessible outside Egypt, Libya, India and Indonesia despite the controversy.

Given the intensified mass protests over this video, YouTube has blocked access to the clip in Egypt and Libya. Access to the video in India and Indonesia is also being denied. Both governments of India and Indonesia said the video has apparently violated their laws. YouTube stressed the very “sensitive situations” in those countries have made them imposed restrictions on the controversial video clip’s accessibility.

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” the YouTube statement cited.

As stated in YouTube’s community guidelines, the company does promote ‘free speech’ and protects everyone’s right to express their thoughts. Nevertheless, it does not tolerate hate speech.

“Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality,” the guidelines said.

Meanwhile, reports indicate a growing number of violent incidents transpiring in the Middle East allegedly over this short film, depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in an unfavourable manner. The full-length feature film made in the US was previously called “Innocence of Bn Laden” but later on, was changed to “Innocence of Muhammad.” A fourteen-minute excerpts or trailers of the film were uploaded on YouTube in July 2012.

On September 11th, 2012, violent protests against the movie sparked in Libya and Egypt after the excerpt of the movie’s YouTube video was broadcast on an Egyptian television station. Demonstrations then spread towards Yemen and other Arab countries, later on.

The US consulates and embassies in the Middle East, particularly in Benghazi, Libya were assaulted. Four American diplomats have been killed, including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. While most people thought it is the anti-Islamic film that has triggered the present outrage across the Middle East, Libyan officials and the United States said these demonstrations may have been “planned in advance.”

The “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video clip now has 10 million worldwide views, and counting.

Source: SF Gate News

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