Because Youtube featured that stupid anti-Muhammad video, an Egyptian court issued a 30-day ban on the website. Yes, all of it. Reactions range from amusement to incredulity. Enforcement is unlikely.
You think pleading for a total ban of Youtube because of a 13 minute-video is absurd? Wait, Mohamed Hamed Salem has more for you. Because the site also features the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims”, the Egyptian lawyer called for a complete ban of... Google, requiring a $2 billion compensation from the company! This, knowing that Google had already restricted access to the film in Egypt as early as September 2012. Hilarious, right? Well Egyptian courts don’t share your sense of humor. One of them issued a 30-day ban for Youtube in response to Salem’s request.
Some activists mobilized to denounce that verdict as a violation of freedom of speech. Others outlined the potential economical backlash, as the ban might hurt small companies using Youtube. Some even suspected the real reason behind the verdict was to prevent the diffusion of videos showing police violence (which, let’s admit it, sounds a bit overly conspiratorial)
A mere week after the verdict, the national telecommunications agency appealed to halt its implementation, on the grounds that it is “technically impossible to shut down YouTube in Egypt without affecting Google’s search engine, incurring potentially huge costs and job losses”, says a statement from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Sounds reasonable. But the statement adds: “Only the United States have the capability to shut down YouTube”. Oh my.