Bangladesh blocks YouTube over film

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Dhaka, Sep 18 (bdnews24.com)—Authorities in Bangladesh on Monday blocked YouTube’s website indefinitely to stop the people watching a US-made film that insults the Prophet Muhammad and has sparked violence in the Muslim world.

Visitors in Bangladesh could not access the site after 5:30pm on Monday, an official with telecoms regulator BTRC’s System and Service Department told bdnews24.com.

The government on Sunday asked Google Inc that owns the video website to remove the 13-minute video clip of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ from its site. But there was no response from the search engine giant until Monday.

Protesters set on fire the US flag in Bangladesh, too, as several Islamist organisations took to the street over the issue. Protesters in Afghanistan and Indonesia burnt US flags and chanted `Death to America’ on Monday in renewed demonstrations.

Four US officials including the Ambassador to Libya were killed in the east Libyan city of Benghazi last week after anger over the film boiled over and US and other foreign embassies were stormed in several cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by enraged Muslims. At least nine other people have been killed.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Xia have urge the US to ban screening or publicity of the film.

YouTube has declined to take the film down, saying it fell within their guidelines, but blocked access to the film in India, Egypt and Libya because of “special circumstances” in those countries.

Afghanistan has blocked YouTube while Indonesia has also written to Google for withdrawing the video clip.

Delay

However, after bdnews24.com reported the BTRC’s move, internet users from around Dhaka called bdnews24.com office, saying they were able to view it.

Mohamad Sirajum Monir, a businessman from Uttara, said he saw the film on YouTube several times from 5:30pm until the BTRC official told bdnews24.com about the block.

Asked about the matter, the BTRC official said ‘some technical reasons’ was delaying them from completely blocking the site.

Clips of the movie, posted on YouTube under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims”, had been posted online for weeks before apparently triggering violent demonstrations

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