FLEXING ITS NEW INTERNET censorship muscles, the Indonesian government has blocked YouTube, apparently for making available the anti-Islamic film, Fitna, by right wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
As well as banning Wilders’ film, some hardcore Muslims, unaware of the irony of what they were doing, protested outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, calling for the filmaker’s death. The film, Fitna, the Arabic word for “religious discord”, accuses the Koran of inciting violence.
Indonesia has asked Internet providers to block access to the Video sharing Web site and according to Reuters, the government’s information minister, Muhammad Nuh, has written to the YouTube asking them to please remove the film.
But the Indonesian government don’t seem to have quite mastered the art of censorship just yet, as Indonesians subscribing to the country's largest telecom company ISP, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, told Reuters that they were still able to access YouTube.
Wilders’ film was launched on the Net last week, amid vocal global protest. The film starts and ends with a cartoon caricature of the prophet Muhammad, with a bomb under his turban, ticking away. The film then goes on to flash scenes from the September 11, attacks on the US, and several other Islamist bombings, accompanied by Koran verses. The 15 minute film goes on to describe Islam as “the enemy of freedom”.
This is not the first time that YouTube has found itself in trouble for religious incitement. Pakistan blocked the site in February, for material considered offensive to Islam, taking down much of the world’s access with it, when Hong Kong Internet Service provider PCCW distributed Pakistani Telecom Association's hijacked IP redirection by mistake. The offensive material included the controversial sketches of the Prophet Mohammad, published in the Danish press last year.
Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, has a population that is 85 per cent Muslim. It recently passed a controversial law limiting access to pornographic, violent or ethnically hostile sites. The Dutch government has distanced itself from the right-wing Geert Wilders’ views. µ
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