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Google Inc. (GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt reiterated that a video uploaded to YouTube depicting the Prophet Muhammad in ways that offended some Muslims won’t be removed after the company blocked viewing of the clip in countries including India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Singapore.
“We believe the answer to bad speech is more speech,” Schmidt told reporters in Seoul today. “That video had been on YouTube for some time and clearly meets the criteria that we have set. It’ll stay up.”
Google’s free YouTube Internet video service said on Sept. 14 that it’s restricting access to the film in selected countries to abide by local laws after the 14-minute clip sparked protests, some deadly, from Egypt to Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The video depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and shows a fictional attack by Muslims on a Christian family.
Separately, Google said on Sept. 25 it will appeal an arrest order against the head of its operations in Brazil for failing to remove YouTube videos that attacked a candidate in the country’s upcoming municipal elections. The judge also ordered a 24-hour suspension of Google and its video-sharing website throughout the state.
“Google is not, and should not become, the arbiter of what does and does not appear on the web,” the company writes on its official blog, in an item headlined “Free expression and controversial content on the web.” “That’s for the courts and those elected to government to decide,” Google said in the blog item.
“We negotiate these things very carefully” with authorities, Schmidt said, declining to comment further. “Sometimes they disagree.”
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