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Russia blocks “Innocence of Muslims,” may ban YouTube entirely

Because of a censorship bill that takes effect next month, banning the controversial anti-Islamic video may be the first step to shutting down YouTube in Russia.


Chase Hoffberger


Posted on Oct 2, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 10:10 am CDT

A Russian court has banned the controversial, anti-Islamic trailer for “The Innocence of Muslims,” a move that could spell trouble for the future of YouTube within the country.

Moscow’s Tverskoy Court ruled Monday that the video, the 14-minute trailer for a film that portrays the prophet Mohammed as a philanderer and has incited riots across the globe, should not be available to Russian YouTube viewers, citing its message as “extremist.”

The video, prosecutor Viktoria Maslova argued Monday in court, “puts the Islamic religion in a bad light and aids the rise of religious intolerance in the Russian Federation.”

Russia is one of many countries to block the film in the past month, but the massive country’s decision to black it out comes with a considerable caveat.

Its banning is now being seen as the primary stepping stone towards a nationwide blackout of YouTube entirely, something that’s expected to happen when the country enacts the contentious censorship bill 89417-6 on Nov. 1.

That bill, which has faced steep opposition from officials including communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov, would allow the government to shut down any Web site if it does not remove offending material within 24 hours of receiving a warning.

Because Google, which owns YouTube, has refused to remove “The Innocence of Muslims” from the site, YouTube could be blocked in Russia under the new law.

Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have already blocked YouTube in response to the controversial video, and Libya, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia have blocked “The Innocence of Muslims” while leaving the rest of YouTube accessible.

Photo via Vladimir Putin Fan Club/Facebook

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*First Published: Oct 2, 2012, 3:03 pm CDT