YouTube: one door closes, another opens

23 Jan 2008

While Turkey has decided to ban its citizens from accessing popular video-sharing website YouTube, the Google-owned site has just entered South Korea for the first time but may face censorship hurdles there also.

While this is not the first time Turkey has banned YouTube, it has decided to block access this time based on what it claims are video clips offensive to the government.

The site had previously been banned in March 2007 due to what the government called a ‘virtual war’ between Turkey and Greece, and has been banned in several other countries including Morocco and Thailand.

While censorship of YouTube in some countries is preventing Google from getting its share on user-generated content and the video-sharing market, it has just launched a Korean language version of the site specific to South Korea, securing deals with local companies to supply home-grown content to what is largely a US-based portal.

Korea, with its advanced IT infrastructure and near ubiquitous high-speed internet access, already has a large number of native video-sharing sites which Google may find difficult to compete with. The company introduced its search engine to the country in 2000 but failed to gain a large share in the market as South Koreans already tend to use local-based search engines.

While localised content is the aim, The Korean Times online reported that currently there is more Japanese and English content on YouTube South Korea’s homepage.

Here in Ireland, a local YouTube was launched on 19 June 2007 with local video podcasts such as Balcony TV promoted on the homepage.

By Marie Boran