Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 10 February 2013 16.50 GMT
YouTube has been temporarily banned in Egypt for carrrying an anti-Islamic documentary that triggered deadly riots across north Africa and the Middle East in September.
In what human rights activists have called a backwards step for internet freedom, Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website for 30 days after the trailer for Innocence of Muslims sparked outrage.
The ban had not been enacted by Sunday afternoon, and a Google spokesperson said the company, which owns YouTube, had not yet been served with any order. But five years after a request for a similar ban was thrown out by an Egyptian court, this week's putative YouTube ban has been seen as a regressive step.
In 2007 an Egyptian judge tried to block 49 human rights websites, but his efforts were vetoed by an administrative court. "It is certainly a backwards step compared to what the court ruled (in 2007)," said Amr Gharbeia, civil liberties director at the Egyptian Institute for Personal Rights.