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Sudan reportedly blocks YouTube over electoral fraud video

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April 21, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese authorities have reportedly blocked users’ access to the YouTube site over a video posted this week showing electoral staff in East Sudan filling out the ballots and putting inside the boxes.

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The Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper said that the Al-Rakoba website was also blocked for showing the same footage although there was no official confirmation from National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC).

YouTube, owned by search giant Google Inc, has been unavailable for users in Sudan starting Wednesday. A significant number of internet surfers confirmed to Sudan Tribune the ban.

Sudan, which just concluded its first elections since 1986 said the video was fabricated and that it will not investigate it. Several heavyweight opposition groups boycotted the elections and even those who participated announced later they will not recognize its results alleging fraud and vote rigging.

The video originally posted on YouTube website showed around seven National Electoral Commission (NEC) workers along with a child, apparently in an East Sudan polling station, filling out the voting slips and stuffing it into the boxes. The information attached to the video stated that it was recorded in the Red Sea state, constituency 4 in Hamashkoreib region.

The electoral staff was wearing the official orange-colored on top of traditional eastern Sudanese clothes with the semi-transparent sealed ballot boxes on the floor.

The sound quality of the video was poor but one voice is heard expressing relief that the voting period has been extended "so we can finish our work".

Opposition parties said the video is the solid proof on the extent of vote rigging by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

This is not the first time Sudan blocks YouTube website. In 2008, Khartoum made a similar move for unknown reasons before reversing the decision.

(ST)

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