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YouTube Blocked Over “Innocence Of Muslims”

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Emily Trube KRLD Emily Trube
  Emily Trube started a career in broadcast journalism in 2003, after...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Fallout continues in the Middle East and Southeast Asia after the online release of a trailer for an anti-Islamic film produced in the United States. Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa on Tuesday urged Muslims in the region to kill U.S. government officials, and is calling last week’s assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens a “gift.”

CBS News reported Tuesday that YouTube has been blocked in both Bangladesh and Pakistan, in order to prevent further viewing of the 14-minute trailer for “The Innocence of Muslims.”

KRLD’s Emily Trube Reports:

Bart Weiss is both the director of the Dallas Video Festival and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “I have to tell you, it is a very poorly made film,” said Weiss. “It’s rather embarrassing how bad the film is.”

Wayne White with the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. said that the film reinforces negative stereotypes on both sides of the world. “Even though most Americans would not be very comfortable with this film at all, or even be outraged by it,” said White, “many Muslims feel that, instead, people in America are cheering this kind of thing. On the other side, we see the anger exploding. What is under-reported is that there are a lot of people in the Muslim world shaking their heads in dismay over the consequences.”

However shoddy and offensive the movie may be, it is protected by the First Amendment. “People who believe in the freedom of speech, the way I do, are always in the position of defending the worst case scenarios. You can’t say ‘I believe in freedom of speech’ and think that applies only to nice people saying nice things,” said Weiss. “Speech becoming stifled can be very problematic. Who’s in control of that, and what message are they not allowing?”

White said that it is easy to forget sometimes that the western concept of “hey, it’s just a movie” has virtually no translation in many parts of the world. “Most of these people [in the Middle East] have lived under an authoritarian state, until recently, that did control the news. And so, their vision of our government is that we could stop this if we really wanted to,” said White.

“The Innocence of Muslims” portrays the prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, ruthless killer and child molester. It is, in short, blasphemous. White said that just the thought of a film like that being made in the United States is enough ammunition to start unrest. He believes that it is possible that many of the people who have been carrying out the attacks have not even seen the movie trailer. “Probably about only 25 percent of the Egyptian population have access to YouTube,” said White. “The mass of people who don’t have access to YouTube hear the worst possible stereotype by word of mouth. The more the rumor circulates, the more that is reportedly in that film.”

Because of the open nature of the internet, what is released in the U.S. is essentially released all over the world. “The thing one hopes for is that people who create media have a sense of responsibility about the media they create,” said Weiss. “Images have incredible power, they always have.”

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