We have all heard talk about the anti-Muslim video that is at the heart of several protests and violent clashes in the Middle East. While it seems to be sparking a fierce rebuke of the American government over there, it is also sparking a fierce debate about where to draw the line when it comes to freedom of speech over here.
Google (News - Alert) has now been interjected into the middle of this debate. The video is currently on YouTube, much to the chagrin of several high level government officials. On Monday, Google refused to take the video down after the US government asked them on Friday to reconsider their decision to keep the video online.
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The Internet giant does seem to be meeting the United States government halfway in some regards. Google said that it had already censored the video in Egypt and Libya, where protests have turned the most violent. The company also says that they are going to censor the video in India and Indonesia. Google said that the reason they are limiting where the video can be seen is more in response to local law than what one government or another has asked of them.
"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," the company said in a statement. "This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007."
The United States government had asked Google to consider taking down the video because it might have violated YouTube’s (News - Alert) terms of service, but the company said that it does not believe a violation has occurred. Free speech advocates have said that they believe the government trying to get Google to pull the film might have a bit of a chilling effect on these kinds of video producers moving forward. Another group has said that speech that incites violence has always been the kind of speech that isn’t protected. There is a fine line between the two sides.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman