British Freedom 30 January 2012
The British Freedom YouTube account has been suspended because it included Geert Wilder’s controversial film Fitna. British Freedom received the following message from YouTube:
The YouTube Community has flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed by the YouTube Team against our Community Guidelines. Upon review, we have determined that the following video(s) contain content in violation of these guidelines, and have been disabled:
Fitna – The Geert Wilders Movie – YouTube.mp4 – (BritishFreedomTV)
We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express their points of view even if unpopular. But YouTube does not permit hate speech. "Hate speech” means content that promotes hatred or violence against members of a protected group (race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/ gender identity). Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. If you’re not sure whether or not your content crosses the line, don’t post it.”
It seems that YouTube, which claims to encourage free speech, could be accused of basing its understanding of such freedom in accordance with principles of sharia. Sharia does not allow criticism or negativity towards the holy book of Islam. The website fidh.org reports that a man in Afghanistan was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment "for having distributed a document criticising the Koran and its views on women’s rights”. Would YouTube censor a video that pointed this out? Fitna is simply a film that quotes the Koran and then shows how some people have interpreted those quotes. To call it ‘hate speech’ indicates a political agenda and an attempt to stifle debate.
Why has British Freedom been specifically targeted? There are many YouTube channels that contain the film Fitna which can be found quite easily by a simple search. Has British Freedom been targeted because it is a political party? The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is already trying to meddle in the internal affairs of Western democracies via its global campaign against free expression.
The very nebulous and ill-defined term ‘Islamophobia’ is often used to restrict debate on issues relating to political Islam. The Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has specifically referred to Western politics. Does this mean that there is now an organised campaign against specific political parties and if such a campaign exists has YouTube inadvertently found itself embroiled in it? Has YouTube now sided with the OIC and accepted its narrative? If the public are prevented from making informed decisions at election times due to politically motivated censorship then democracy looses all its true meaning.
The European Union has offered to host the next meeting of the Istanbul Process which relates to the OIC campaign against freedom of expression. If the European Union bows to OIC pressure on this subject then it means that very significant legislative changes might occur in European states that could put democracy itself in serious danger. The issue of freedom of expression is therefore the subject of ongoing political debate and material like the film Fitna is an important component of that debate. Censorship of this film could be seen as an attempt to stifle debate on a subject of significant public interest. YouTube’s action against the British Freedom YouTube channel may cause some people to conclude that YouTube is effectively taking sides in an extremely significant political debate.
We call upon YouTube to take a position of political impartiality and reinstate the British Freedom channel with the film Fitna included on it.
Posted January 30th, 2012 by pk