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Turkey blocks YouTube

And France bans happy slapping

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Turkey has taken steps to prevent access to YouTube after a video insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was posted on the site.

Turk Telecom took the action on orders from a court. The telco said it would lift the ban, with the approval of the court, if the offending video was removed. YouTube has seen a violent slanging match between Greeks and Turks with dozens of response videos posted.

Paul Doany, head of Turk Telecom, said: "We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong. A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says."

The original video was posted by a user called Stavraetos. Greeks and Turks, and the odd Armenian, used the video sharing site to chuck insults at each other. The mainstream Turkish media took up the row.

Insulting Ataturk is a criminal offence in Turkey punishable by prison.

In another blow for the brave new world of user-generated content, France is banning anyone except reporters from videoing violent acts. The legislation, proposed by Nicholas Sarkozy, aims to stop incidents of happy slapping by imposing big fines on anyone filming such attacks.

But the law is so widely drafted that several bloggers and Reporters Sans Frontieres have pointed out it could be used to stop genuine reporting.

Macworld noted that the law came exactly 16 years after an amateur videographer filmed the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. Under the new law French police should be protected from such an invasion of privacy. ®

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