| SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 12
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 12 YouTube, the video
website owned by Google Inc, said on Wednesday it would
not remove a film clip mocking the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that
has been blamed for anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya, but
it has blocked access to it in those countries.
The clip, based on a longer film, depicts the prophet as a
fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence
at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. The U.S. Ambassador to
Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other American
diplomats were killed in an attack on the U.S. embassy in
Benghazi on Tuesday.
"This video - which is widely available on the Web - is
clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,"
Google said in a statement. "However, given the very difficult
situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted
access in both countries. Our hearts are with the families of
the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya."
The 14-minute clip is a trailer for a film called the
"Innocence of Muslims," produced by a man who described himself
as a California-based Israeli Jew named Sam Bacile.
Google has generally adopted a hands-off approach to
political speech, although its "community guidelines" prohibit
"hate speech," including speech that attacks or demeans a group
based on religion. The guidelines can be viewed at
"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and
which also enables people to express different opinions," Google
said in its statement. "This can be a challenge because what's
OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere."
In the past, Google has selectively filtered videos that
violate local laws.
On Wednesday, Afghanistan's general director of Information
Technology at the Ministry of Communications, Aimal Marjan, told
Reuters, "We have been told to shut down YouTube to the Afghan
public until the video is taken down."