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Google’s YouTube Expands Anti-Islam Film Restriction in Asia

Google Inc.’s online video service YouTube said it’s restricting access to an anti-Islam film in India and Indonesia in order to comply with local laws.

The video about the Prophet Muhammad, which Google earlier restricted in Libya and Egypt, triggered demonstrations against the film across several Islamic countries.

“This video -- which is widely available on the Web -- is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,” YouTube said in an e-mailed statement today. “However, we’ve restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal, such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries.”

Mountain View, California-based Google decided to temporarily block access to the video earlier this week in Egypt and Libya. The 14-minute trailer depicts Muhammad as a womanizer and shows a fictional attack by Muslims on a Christian family.

YouTube lets users easily upload videos to its servers around the world. A valid court order or official government notification is required to remove illegal content, Google said. The operator of the world’s largest search engine said the decision to restrict access was consistent with its principles.

The YouTube announcement follows comments by Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, who said the government “reached out to YouTube to call the video to their attention and ask them to review whether it violates their terms of use.”

Google said that it didn’t block access because of requests from the White House, and said it won’t be reviewing the video again.

-- Editors: Reed Stevenson, Ben Livesey

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