US State Department: Egypt's YouTube Ban Violates Right to Freedom of Expression

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(Photo: Screenshot/The Associated Press)Cindy Lee Garcia, actress in "Innocence of Muslims," says she was duped by the film's producer and had no idea it would be an anti-Islam propaganda piece.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland has spoken out against the recent ruling by a Cairo court to ban YouTube in the country for 30 days as a punishment for its refusal to remove the anti-Islam film, "The Innocence of Muslims," from its site.

"It's actually not quite clear to us at this moment how and whether that's going to be enforced across Egypt," Nuland said.

The U.S. State Department spokesperson added, "But as a general matter, you know that we reject censorship as a response to offensive speech. That kind of action violates the universal rights of citizens to exercise their freedom of expression, association and assembly."

"We would rather see these kinds of concerns settled through dialogue."

Nuland, when asked to assess the situation in Egypt in light of the second anniversary of the Jan. 25 revolution, said, "We are concerned that as Egyptian citizens express their frustrations with the pace of reform, that they do so peacefully, and as Egyptian security forces respond to those protests, that they also exercise restraint."

"We continue to support a broad dialogue between Egypt's leaders and the various political stakeholders to work through the various issues of concern because there needs to be a strong national consensus in Egypt about the way forward, whether we're talking about the economic way forward, whether we're talking about support for universal human rights as protected in the Constitution or rule of law issues, et cetera."