View Comments
Google snubs call to block odious video
Google snubs call to block odious video

The Gillard Government called on internet giant Google Australia to consider blocking access to an anti-Islamic film that has caused riots around the world.

But Google refused, saying the video did not breach its content guidelines, though it had agreed to restrict access in some countries, including Indonesia, India, Libya and Egypt. The 14-minute trailer for an amateur movie, Innocence of Muslims, posted on the Google-owed YouTube has sparked violent protests around the world - including in Australia.

The West Australian understands that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had his department contact Google Australia yesterday morning to make clear his concerns about the video and to ask Google to determine if it breached its content guidelines.

"This video is clearly offensive and Google should review its terms of service to see if they are being appropriately applied in this case," Senator Conroy said.

"Australia has strong anti-vilification laws. If people believe this video is in breach of these laws they can make a complaint to Google or the Human Rights Commission."

But Google Australia said the video was within its rules and it would stay on YouTube.

"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere," a spokesman for the Australian arm of the company said.

"This video, which is widely available on the web, is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.

"However, 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."

Seventeen people were injured and six were arrested and charged after weekend protests in Sydney.

Thought to have been produced by a radical Christian group in the US, the movie depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a fraud, womaniser and paedophile.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said the weekend violence was the work of a "repugnant, lunatic fringe".

Senior members of Australia's Muslim community were due to meet in Sydney and Melbourne last night to try to head off any repeat of the violent weekend protests.

And campaigns have sprung up on social media websites urging members of the Muslim community not to engage in violence.

The weekend violence was reportedly arranged by text message and police and Muslim leaders are trying to establish the source.

Yesterday, the Opposition attacked the Government for granting a visa to British Muslim Taji Mustafa, whom Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has dubbed a "preacher of hate".

Mr Mustafa spoke at the annual conference of radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir in Sydney on Sunday.

Opposition frontbencher Julie Bishop said Mr Mustafa's visa should have been cancelled on character grounds. She said the Opposition would also consider banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, which campaigns for Islamic law in Australia.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the Howard government had baulked at banning the group in 2007 amid fears it would drive members underground.