JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian Internet companies blocked access to YouTube and MySpace on Tuesday, heeding a government order aimed at stopping people from watching an anti-Islam film by a Dutch lawmaker.
Anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders posted the 15-minute film on the Internet on March 27. It has since been widely available on blogs and file-sharing sites.
Indonesia's main Internet service providers all said they had temporarily blocked YouTube, MySpace, Google Video and other file-sharing Web sites.
The government ordered the providers to block the sites last week, saying Wilders' film "could disturb relations between the faiths."
Last year, Thailand blocked YouTube for four months because of clips it deemed offensive to its king. The ban was lifted after YouTube's owner, Google Inc., agreed not to allow videos that break Thai laws or offend the Thai people.
In February, YouTube was inaccessible globally for several hours after the government of Pakistan blocked it, citing what it said were clips in which Wilders made denigrating remarks about Islam.
Wilders' film intersperses scenes of recent terror attacks with verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, and speeches from Islamic extremists calling for attacks on non-Muslims. It has been condemned as racist and misleading by governments around the world.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but its government is secular and hard-line interpretations of the faith generally do not attract much support.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who relies on the support of several Islamic parties in Parliament, has condemned the film.