Video-sharing website LiveLeak has removed the anti-Koran documentary Fitna by Dutch MP Geert Wilders after receiving threats. "We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high," a statement reads. No details were given, except that the threats were "of a very serious nature".
LiveLeak.com, based in Manchester, says it has strict stance on remaining unbiased and allowing freedom of speech within the boundaries of the law. There was no legal reason to refuse Wilders the right to post his film. "This is a sad day for freedom of the speech on the net," the site says.
Over three million people visited LiveLeak before the 17-minute film was pulled on Friday. Since then, the movie has gone viral. YouTube is now one of many sites hosting a ripped version of the LiveLeak video.
Although the film was received calmly in the Netherlands, in Indonesia dozens of people demonstrated outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, calling Wilders "a Christian terrorist". In Pakistan, about 40 supporters of the hardline Islamist party Jamaat-i-Islami staged a protest. The Malaysian opposition party called for a Dutch boycott and the 57-nation strong Organisation of the Islamic Conference also condemned the film in "the strongest terms".
Dutch foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has told the ambassadors from 26 countries, including Iran and Indonesia, that the film in no way reflected the views of the Dutch government.
Wilders has no intention to change or withdraw the movie, but he will amend the production to avoid legal action. A re-edited version will leave out a cartoon by Kurt Westergaard, who didn't give permission for showing his work in the movie, as well as a picture of Dutch rapper Salah Edin, who was mistaken for the killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri. ®