JAKARTA (AFP) — Indonesian Internet providers have started blocking websites or blogs posting an anti-Islamic film that has sparked widespread protests, a report said Saturday.
Internet Service Providers Association chairwoman Sylvia Sumarlin told news website detikcom that access to YouTube has been blocked but could not guarantee it would be totally unavailable for national viewing.
She said there were other routes that Internet service providers (ISPs) could access that were currently not being used.
The film, "Fitna", could still be accessed on YouTube from some providers on Saturday.
Earlier this week, the government wrote to YouTube asking it to take down the film, made by the far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
"A letter was sent to Internet providers asking them to block any site or blog posting the film Fitna," communications and information ministry official Ferdinandus Setu told AFP.
In the letter dated April 2, the minister said the film "could disturb religious and civil harmony at a global level" and asked Internet providers to block sites posting the film, without specifically mentioning YouTube.
"Not only YouTube has uploaded the film, so it is up to the ISPs' discretion to block these sites," said Setu, adding that the ministry had not decided on any sanctions for ISPs who do not comply with the request.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week banned screenings of the film and barred Wilders from entering the country.
He also urged Indonesians not to resort to violence. Protests here have mostly been peaceful, but dozens of members of a Muslim student group on Wednesday attacked a Dutch consulate building, burning a flag and breaking down the gates.
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