YouTube still not blocked in Kuwait

YouTube.com remains accessible, but Ministry of Communication issues new order to block certain videos

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 29, 2008

Despite reports to the contrary, YouTube is still available online in Kuwait, although new instructions on blocking the site have been issued by authorities, itp.net has learned.

According to newspaper reports, the popular video sharing website was banned last week by the Ministry of Communications, although the site appeared to have been given a reprieve on Tuesday when the Minister was said to have rescinded the order after internal discussions.

Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Jarida stated that the person who issued the original memo, which told ISPs to block YouTube because of content that was derogatory to Islam, had no authority to do so in the first place.

The ‘block’ then received support from Kuwaiti MP Waleed Al-Tabtabai this week, who was reported in Al Watan as urging the Ministry of Communications to censor even more websites that "work on tarnishing the image of others, practice blasphemy and publish pornography".

“Some have misused the internet and governments all over the world have the right to restrict or permit certain Web sites. The Director of Censorship Department at the ministry, Nasser AlـKandari, did the right thing by trying to ban YouTube to defend the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The ministry should work on developing this important department to regulate censoring similar Web sites,” Al Tabtabai said.

An insider working for an ISP in Kuwait, who did not wish to be named, has now revealed to itp.net that the Ministry has issued a new order to "block certain specific links within Youtube.com".

The official paper which has been circulated to ISPs, gives a five page list of specific URLs and key words that are to be blocked, mostly concerning sexual content.

ISPs have yet to implement the ban however, in part due to the confusion surrounding the order, and because of technical concerns about how to implement the blocking.

“We have not yet applied any blocking mechanism, mainly because we're worried that such a long list of URLs might overload the CPU usage on our caches. And we're not sure what to do honestly. The decision seems to be definitely delayed until after Eid holiday,” said the source.

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