Egyptian court bans YouTube for one month

The Cairo Administrative Court ordered the government-run National Telecommunication Regulation Authority (NTRA) on February 9, 2013, to ban YouTube for one month after the website failed to remove a video widely considered anti-Islamic, according to news reports. Similar judicial attempts to block websites have been overturned on appeal in the past.

The ban came in response to a lawsuit filed by Mohammad Hamid Salim, an Egyptian lawyer, who said the film constituted a threat to Egypt’s security and that YouTube, the video sharing site owned by Google, had refused to remove the film despite its offensive content. YouTube had temporarily restricted access to the video in Libya and Egypt, it said in a statement to CNN in September 2012.

The NTRA referred the case to its legal committee to determine if it could appeal the ruling, according to news reports. In 2009, the NTRA did not implement an order banning pornographic websites, citing “great technical and technological difficulty.”

Two similar lawsuits were also filed against the government and Google. In addition, a blogger, Alber Saber, a Coptic Christian, was sentenced to three years in prison for sharing the video on social networking sites, according to news reports. He was released on bail.