The 13 minute thoroughly-unentertaining train wreck of a "movie trailer" has actually led to an Egyptian court blocking the entire YouTube service for a month. The video - which claims to be a trailer for a longer movie - is fairly pathetic, but so is the Egyptian court's response to it.
In the Muslim world, depicting the Islamic prophet in any media is often considered blasphemous on its own, so a video depicting him as a sexual deviant and an idiot was always likely to get a response, especially when coupled with the provocative spew of its creator when he spoke to the media.
Regardless, blocking an entire service over one really stupid video is simply unbelievable, even if it is just for a month. YouTube is a public forum, it's a market place of content containing everything from brilliant educational videos, to great ideas, to downright junk. Trust me, even the most hardened person could find something that would annoy them or even anger them on YouTube.
That is the reality of free speech and free expression. When you decide to silence somebody because you don't like what they are saying, you are not only depriving them of their right to speak, you are depriving yourself of your right to hear what they have to say, regardless of how ridiculous or provocative it might be. If you don't want to listen to it, then walk away, it's really that simple. You don't have to watch videos on YouTube.
Such mass blocks of web services over a video or Facebook page, or whatever it is, is an action that comes from (and expresses) weakness, not strength.
The Egyptian court outdoes itself by claiming that YouTube "insisted on broadcasting the film insulting Islam and the Prophet, disrespecting the beliefs of millions of Egyptians and disregarding the anger of all Muslims."
YouTube does not choose what to broadcast outside of its own media content. It has community guidelines that allow members to flag content as inappropriate. In the case of the "Innocence of Muslims," users are warned that it has been flagged by YouTube users before they go ahead and watch it. YouTube is not Big Brother, it does not decide for its users what they can watch and what they can't based on whether or not their feelings will be hurt.
The Egyptian court should at least have admitted that its beef is not with YouTube, it is with free speech and free expression. It should also refrain from speaking for "all Muslims" in its decisions.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 10 Feb 2013 7:16