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Saudi Arabia: Authorities Threaten to Block YouTube

The Saudi official news agency, SPA, reported earlier today that the Communications and Information Technology Commission reacted to the trailer of the movie “Innocence of Muslims” by threatening to block YouTube, which has blocked at least one clip since the statement was published.

SPA reported [ar]:

قامت هيئة الاتصالات وتقنية المعلومات بتوجيه شركات الاستضافة في المملكة بحجب هذا الفيلم [...]، كما قامت الهيئة بمخاطبة شركة جوجل لحجب جميع روابط اليوتيوب الالكترونية المحتوية على الفيلم وفي حال عدم الاستجابة لهذا الطلب فستقوم الهيئة بحجب موقع يوتيوب بالكامل.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission has ordered Saudi ISPs to block that movie [...]. The Commission has also contacted Google to request blocking all YouTube URLs that lead to the movie, and in case they did not respond, the Commission would block YouTube completely.

Saudis, who have ranked first in worldwide YouTube views, overall reacted to the statement with anger and sarcasm.

YouTube has blocked at least one clip since the statement was published, via @essamz

Saudi blogger Thumar al-Marzougi tweeted:

على احتمالين، بسوء ظن: الدولة تريد استغلال فرصة الفيلم لتقوم #حجب_اليوتيوب بما يشمل نشاطاته الفكرية والسياسية، بحسن ظن: ماهيب عارفه وشو حجب

@thumarm: Two possibilities, with the assumption of bad faith: the state either wants to take the chance to block YouTube and all of its thoughtful and political content, or they do not know what blocking is.

Saudi Twitter user Mousab Fouad tweeted:

اليوم #حجب_اليوتيوب عشان مقطع ١٥ دقيقة بكرا حجب تويتر عشان ١٤٠ حرف! اللعنه اللعنه

@DrRAYQ: They will block YouTube for a 15-minute clip. Next they will block Twitter for a 140-character tweet! Damn it!

Saudi columnist and economist Essam al-Zamil tweeted:

الفيلم المسيء تم حجبه عن مصر وليبيا. لذلك حجبه عن السعودية من قبل يوتيوب سهل جدا. ولا يحتاج تهديد ووعيد!. #حجب_اليوتيوب

@essamz: The offensive movie was blocked [by YouTube] in Egypt and Libya, and it will be very easy for YouTube to block it in Saudi Arabia, no need for intimidation!

Since the statement, YouTube has blocked at least one clip.

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