Egypt is about to act on its longstanding threat to temporarily ban YouTube. The country’s highest administrative court has ruled that officials must block the streaming video site for a month (along with “all” links playing the video) after it allowed the 2012 anti-Islamic video Innocence of Muslims. The short film’s portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed triggered outrage in the Islamic world and led to a 2013 Egyptian case demanding the ban, but the appeal process has kept the ruling in limbo for the past five years.
We’ve asked YouTube for its comment on the ruling, which had yet to take effect as of this writing. Unlike in 2013, this decision is final and can’t be overturned.
To some extent, the ban has lost its intended effect — the furor has clearly died down in six years. YouTube itself has also changed since 2012, with a greater willingness to isolate or remove hateful videos. This is now more of a symbolic punishment than a bid to make YouTube change its ways, and it’ll unfortunately affect millions of people in the process.