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YOUTUBE SITE BLOCKED FOR MAROC TELECOM SUBSCRIBERS

Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern about the blocking of access to video-sharing website YouTube by the Moroccan Internet server (ISP) Maroc Telecom since May 25 2007.

The ISP failed to respond to several calls made to it by the worldwide press freedom organisation, but a European journalist reported that the firm's press officer said it was due to a "technical problem."

"We wonder how a 'technical problem' can affect only one website," the organisation said. "No official statement has supported this version. Blocking access to a site is illegal unless ordered by a court."

Users of the smaller privately-owned ISPs Wana and Méditel are still able to access YouTube, which may have been blocked by Maroc Telecom after videos were posted on it of independence demonstrations for Western Sahara.

Morocco has blocked access since last year to Google Earth and Livejournal. Websites close to the Western Sahara independence movement Polisario were blocked in December 2005 ( http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=15809 ).

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