Google rejects White House request to pull Mohammad film clip

SAN FRANCISCO Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:53pm EDT

A visitor is seen at the You Tube stand during the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes, southeastern France, October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A visitor is seen at the You Tube stand during the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes, southeastern France, October 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc rejected a request by the White House on Friday to reconsider its decision to keep online a controversial YouTube movie clip that has ignited anti-American protests in the Middle East.

The Internet company said it was censoring the video in India and Indonesia after blocking it on Wednesday in Egypt and Libya, where U.S. embassies have been stormed by protestors enraged over depiction of the Prophet Mohammad as a fraud and philanderer.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in a fiery siege on the embassy in Benghazi.

Google said was further restricting the clip to comply with local law rather than as a response to political pressure.

"We've restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries," the company said. "This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007."

White House officials had asked Google earlier on Friday to reconsider whether the video had violated YouTube's terms of service. The guidelines can be viewed here

Google said on Wednesday that the video was within its guidelines.

U.S. authorities said on Friday that they were investigating whether the film's producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year old Egyptian Coptic Christian living in Southern California, had violated terms of his prison release. Basseley was convicted in 2010 for bank fraud and released from prison on probation last June.

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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Comments (21)
CountryPride wrote:
Once again the White House is more than happy to bow to the demands of fanatic extremists to trample first amendment rights. Soon the White House will be trying to make laws like Europe where it is a crime to insult their beloved Islam.

Sep 14, 2012 10:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JayJay1855 wrote:
Like the video or not, freedom of speech should take precedence over the whims of radical Muslims. For almost a century U.S. courts have upheld the rights of those who opposed the moral fabric of the day as a means to support the First Amendment. Now the White House wants to shatter all that in the name of protest in foreign lands questioning our sovereign rights?

Sep 14, 2012 10:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Our freedom of expression cannot be changed by the will of disgusting, third-world peasants. I sacrificed a mansion for 2,000 lb. bombs. I demand that you use them, Mr. Obama. We traded comfort for extreme power. We are unchallenged in the world. Introduce our allies in the Muslim world to “the prophet” as soon as possible. I will assist if you will lead.

Sep 14, 2012 11:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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