India orders Google to block anti Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube

Following the uproar against an anti Islamic movie in Libya and Egypt, government of India has asked Google to ban 11 YouTube videos that contain excerpts of the movie. The center’s request is at the behest of Jammu & Kashmir state government which forwarded a court order that sought to remove the film’s excerpts. According to J&K government content of the video was deemed offensive and could trigger law and order problems in the Valley. [via]

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Fearing violence and protest against the film, Afghanistan had already asked internet service providers to block the websites carrying the excerpts of the movie, however, according to a Google statement, the video which is widely available on the web is “clearly within its guidelines” and so will stay on YouTube. Given the very difficult circumstance in Libya and Egypt, Google has temporarily restricted access of controversial videos, the company said in a statement.

Although, we are not sure how fast YouTube (Google) would block all 11 URLs requested by Indian government, it is important to note that the ban has been also upheld by court order and in India Google has complied with 80 per cent of court orders regarding removal of content. So we assume that Google would comply and act swiftly to the inflammatory excerpts of the controversial film.

Earlier in India, there were several instances of states banning the films owing to various reasons. In 2011, Parzania, a movie that highlights the trauma of 2002 Gujarat riots was banned in Gujarat as Hindu fundamentalists opposed it. Hollywood flick, The Da Vinci  Code was banned by seven states (Goa, Nagaland, Punjab, TamilNadu, Andhra Pradesh) owing to insult to the Jesus Christ in the film.

The Google Transparency Report says that the search giant received 2,207 requests for user data from Indian government bodies and 3,427 requests regarding users and accounts for the period July to December 2011. Google complied with 66 per cent of these requests. There were five court orders from India asking the Internet search giant to remove content, however, there were 96 other requests by Indian government bodies for 246 individual items which puts India above other countries requesting for removal of content.