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Government blocks access to YouTube

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders deplores the blocking of video-sharing website YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) in China since 23 March 2009 because of content critical of the ruling Communist Party. The foreign ministry's spokesman said the same day: "Many people have the false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact, it is just the opposite."

"If the Chinese government is not afraid of the Internet's influence, why block all the websites that carry criticism of the Communist Party and why create a national filter designed to 'clean up' the Internet?" Reporters Without Borders asked. "China's leaders are extremely intolerant of Internet content and its creators."

The press freedom organisation added: "We firmly condemn this blocking, which not only prevents the world's biggest group of Internet users from accessing certain online content but also constitutes a very negative message regarding online free expression in China."

Google-owned YouTube's website is inaccessible in most of China's provinces, Internet users say. When anyone tries to connect, the following message appears: "This page is not available. The Internet page corresponding to the address http://www.youtube.com is not accessible. The site may have changed its address."

Google spokesman Scott Rubin told Reporters Without Borders: "We are looking into this and working to restore access to YouTube as soon as possible. I can't confirm the reason for the block, but I do know that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a press conference today in which it confirmed that the government is responsible for the block."

To read the full alert, see: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30667

For further information on the Chinese government's blocking of other Internet sites, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99372

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