Sudan blocks youtube: Is it political or social?

Sudan blocked access to the video sharing Web site youtube last week without giving any explanation. Users who attempt to access the site receive the standard blockpage which says, “Sorry this page has been blocked by [the] National Telecommunication Corporation”.

While it is not clear why the Sudanese authorities blocked access to youtube, Arabic online media reports (e.g., Moheet, Islam Today) suggested either one of two reasons behind the block: the increase use of youtube by the anti-government armed groups; or, because of the availability of “indecent” and “sexually oriented” clips on the site.

A Sudanese blogger believes this blocking is "just another attempt to suffocate freedom of speech" and to prevent access to oppositional content.

Interestingly, Internet users reacted differently to the blocking. Some users started a campaign on a facebook group demanding unblocking access to youtube, and some bloggers (e.g., Mohammed Hassan) appealed to the President of Sudan to lift the ban. Other users however, posted “thank you” notes to the National Telecommunication Corporation on online forums (e.g., Sudanese Online) “for responding swiftly to their requests to block the site.” They claim that some users have posted to youtube clips of Sudanese girls in “compromised positions” to blackmail them.

ONI found that youtube is accessible through the site’s IP address and that variations of youtube domain (e.g., are not blocked.