By Gerry Shih and Sue Zeidler
(Reuters) – YouTube, the video website owned by Google Inc, will not remove a film clip mocking the Islamic Prophet Mohammad that has been blamed for anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya, but it has blocked access to it in those countries.
The clip, based on a longer film, depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed by gunmen in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.
Google’s response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events.
A nalysts say they have seen a handful of Internet companies generally take a m ore h ands-off approach to controversial political speech, perhaps mo tivated by idealistic and business considerations.