April 8, 2008 / 11:43 AM / 12 years ago

Indonesia blocks access to YouTube over anti-Koran film

Muslim women shout slogans in front of a poster of Geert Wilders during a rally outside the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta April 1, 2008. REUTERS/Beawiharta

JAKARTA (Reuters) - At least four Indonesian firms providing Internet services have blocked access to the YouTube Web site for carrying a Dutch lawmaker’s film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence, an information ministry official said on Tuesday.

The move follows a government ban on broadcasts of the film by Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party, which alternates images of the September 11, 2001 attacks and other Islamist bombings with quotations from the Koran.

Titled “Fitna,” a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife”, it also shows an image of the Prophet Mohammad primed to explode and says the rising number of Muslims in Europe threatens democratic values.

Sukemi, the information ministry spokesman, said telecommunication firms PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) and PT Exelcomindo Pratama Tbk, and Internet provider Indonet had blocked access to YouTube.

Telekom had also blocked social networking site MySpace and is still looking for other sites and blogs that have posted the film to block them, Eddy Kurnia, vice-president for public and marketing communication, said in a statement.

Wilders’ film urges Muslims to tear out “hate-filled” verses from the Koran and starts and ends with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb under his turban, accompanied by a ticking sound.

The film has sparked protests in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and a former Dutch colony.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged his predominantly Muslim nation not to use violence in protests against the film.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from Wilders’ views, and the Dutch upper house of parliament has condemned what it called efforts to denigrate Islam and promote hatred.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia and Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Sugita Katyal and Jerry Norton

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