A few days ago I reported that the government of Indonesia, to guard its citizens against the dangers of Fitna, Indonesia had ordered the country’s ISPs to block YouTube and MySpace. The blasphemy inherent in Geert Wilders’ movie was so potent that good Muslims had to be protected from seeing it.
There’s nothing like banning something to make it irresistible, so it’s no surprise that more people in Indonesia now want to see the movie than in any other country. We can testify to this interest from personal experience, based on the number of people who use www.google.id to search for “fitna download” and then find their way to Gates of Vienna.
The pressure on the Indonesian government has become too great, and it has had to reverse its position. According to Al Arabiya:
Indonesia’s main Internet providers said Friday they have restored access to YouTube and other sites carrying a controversial anti-Islam film following “overwhelming” protests from web users.
“Access to YouTube and several other sites has been re-opened after Internet providers received overwhelming protests from users,” Heru Nugroho, of the Indonesian Internet providers’ association, told AFP.
“We discussed the complaints with the ministry and they agree with us,” he added. No comment was immediately available from the communications ministry.
I’d like to think the complaints came from millions of viewers who wanted to see with their own eyes the monstrous blasphemies committed against the Prophet by the Blond.
But it’s more likely the outraged Jackass addicts and devotees of rap music videos who ratcheted up the pressure on the government.
The article continues:
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The move comes just days after web providers in Jakarta blocked the sites at the government’s request, sparking a storm of complaints. The government is facing accusations of censorship over the ban, which many small business owners say is affecting their livelihoods.
Internet providers said they would instead try block access to individual pages carrying the film, “Fitna.”
Access to the popular video-sharing site YouTube and the social networking site MySpace were blocked on Tuesday following protests against the film, which intersperses images of terrorist attacks with quotes from the Quran.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists said the move amounted to censorship, comparing it to “destroying a restaurant to kill a fly,” while the Jakarta Post in an editorial Friday called it “dumb and dangerous.”
“Indonesia’s commitment to freedom of expression and the right to information, both of which are guaranteed in the constitution, are now being put in doubt,” the daily said.
And here’s a source of additional pressure:
Nugroho said many Indonesian small business owners were also affected by the blocking of YouTube and Multiply.com, a networking site.
“Many of our users use YouTube or Multiply for their business,” he said. “We will block direct links to the web pages that have the film. It’s the film we are concerned with, not YouTube.”
Multiply.com I can understand. But how is YouTube used by businesses? Does anyone know?
Hat tips: TB and insubria.