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Top 10 Countries That Censored YouTube

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Script written by Nathan Sharp

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site in the world, yet that didn’t stop these countries. From Russia, to Turkey, to Brazil, these countries limited or completely banned this popular website. WatchMojo counts down ten countries that censored YouTube.

Special thanks to our user governmentfree for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Countries+That+Censored+YouTube.


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Countries That Censored YouTube

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site in the world, yet that didn’t stop these countries. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Countries that Censored YouTube.

For this list, we’ll be looking at various countries that have censored or banned YouTube in the past. We’ll be ranking our list on the severity of the reason and the extent of the censorship.

#10: Russia

Russia has been known to censor YouTube in the past, particularly when it comes to their battles with extremism. In 2010, a video was uploaded to YouTube showing Islamic extremist Dokka Umarov claiming responsibility for the Moscow Metro Bombings, a series of suicide bombings that left 40 people dead. The video was subsequently removed from the site. The Kavkaz Center, an independent Islamist news agency, then claimed that Russian officials had ordered YouTube to remove over three hundred of their videos. Another ban was attempted in July 2010, when the city court of Komsomolsk-on-Amur attempted to block YouTube due to its hosting extremist content. However, the ban was ultimately unsuccessful.

#9: Brazil

The paparazzi really will record anything. In September 2006, Brazilian fashion model and TV host Daniella Cicarelli and her boyfriend were filmed fooling around on a public beach. This naturally caught the attention of the internet, and Cicarelli demanded thatYouTube remove the video. While they did try, many users simply re-uploaded the clip, and it continued to make its rounds on the internet. Exasperated, Cicarelli and her boyfriend filed a lawsuit which requested that YouTube be banned until the video was removed. Amazingly, the Brazilian court complied, and YouTube was blocked from the country for a couple of days before the court overturned its decision.

#8: Turkey

Turkey is no stranger to YouTube censorship. The first instance came in March 2007, when videos insulting the founder of Turkey were posted. Turkey’s main internet provider, Türk Telecom, was subsequently ordered to block the site until the offensive videos were removed. YouTube was subsequently banned several times, including in 2010 when a video surfaced of politician Deniz Baykal meeting with a woman for a romantic endeavor. It was blocked yet again in March 2014 after a recording of government officials discussing military involvement in Syria was leaked. More recently it was throttled in December 2016, when a video was uploaded depicting the murder of two Turkish soldiers at the hands of jihadists.

#7: Libya

In January 2010, many Libyans woke up to find that their access to YouTube had been blocked, as numerous videos were posted to the site which were deemed unacceptable. Some of these videos showed a protest from the family members of inmates who were murdered inside Abu Salim prison, a prison infamous for its abuse and mistreatment of prisoners. Other videos that were deemed unacceptable depicted Muammar al-Gaddafi’s family members at a lavish party. The ban was finally lifted one year later at the conclusion of the Libyan Civil War.

#6: Thailand

Thailand is also no stranger to YouTube censorship. In 2006, various videos were posted to the site which mocked the country’s King. In Thai law, defamation of the King is illegal. To unblock the site, Google needed to remove 20 “offensive” videos, which included the insulting videos of the King, and criticisms of the law itself. It was blocked again in March 2007, although no official reason was given, and again the next month after more offensive videos and images of the monarch were published. The ban was finally lifted nearly five months later after YouTube agreed to block the offensive videos from Thai viewers.

#5: Turkmenistan

On Christmas Day, 2009, YouTube and various other social websites like LiveJournal were officially blocked in Turkmenistan, although no official reason was given. However, news sources claim that the various bans were an attempt by the officials of Turkmenistan to block citizens from accessing alternative information and news sources. Their alleged hope was to prevent outside journalists from providing intelligence to independent media. Turkmenistan is known for its abysmal freedom of press, as the autocratic government controls nearly all forms of media in the country. Partial access was temporarily restored, but was suspended again in 2017.

#4: China

Like Turkmenistan, YouTube is completely blocked in China, minus a few specific areas. The initial block came in October 2007, and it remained in place for five months. However, it was again blocked in March 2009 after videos surfaced showing security officials beating on protesters in Tibet, a region which has been incorporated by China but which has long-yearned for independence. Beijing officials denounced the video and called it doctored and “a lie” before placing a ban on the popular video-sharing site. The ban has remained in place ever since.

#3: Pakistan

The first of many bans in Pakistan came in February 2008, when the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked access to the site over “non-Islamic objectionable videos.” However, many people believe that this was an excuse to cover the real reason – videos allegedly showing proof of vote-rigging by the ruling party. It happened again in May 2010 after blasphemous images of Muhammad were posted to the site. It was then banned after YouTube neglected to remove the trailer for “Innocence of Muslims,” an anti-Islamic short film. The ban was finally lifted three years later when YouTube launched a local version that allowed government officials to better control potentially controversial material.

#2: Iran

Iran has a long history of internet censorship, oftentimes involving Youtube. While various ISPs allow access to the video sharing site, and schools and universities retain a special privilege to unblock YouTube for educational purposes, the website was still banned for a large majority of the country after the release of the “Innocence of Muslims” trailer in 2012. An Iranian news agency said that the website was banned “because of public demand,” and it remains blocked from most of the population to this day.

#1: North Korea

Not only is YouTube blocked from North Korea, but many of the country’s citizens do not have access to the internet at all. Those that do have access are only given a strict, sanctioned, and sanitized version that the government controls. However, to prevent visitors and foreigners from releasing information and to further limit access to the outside, YouTube, along with various other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, were completely banned in April 2016. Those caught accessing the website in any way would be subject to an uncertain “punishment,” the harrowing details of which are unknown.

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