Saturday, 28 October 2017

Prager Sues Google, YouTube Over Censorship

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Prager University (PragerU), an online media outlet founded by conservative commentator and radio host Dennis Prager, has sued Google and its video site YouTube for censoring content published by PragerU.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on October 23, charges that more than 50 PragerU videos have either been “restricted” or “demonetized” by Google/YouTube. The conservative-leaning content includes such short videos as “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”

“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven,” said Dennis Prager. “For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America.”

Prager accused Google/YouTube of engaging in an “arbitrary and capricious” use of their “restricted mode” and “demonetization” policies to restrict conservative ideas from YouTube. “Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech, not only in California, but the United States, and the world,” he said.

For their part, Google/YouTube officials insist that their censorship of some of the videos was based on content they deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences.

However, while YouTube insists that it is “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard,” attorney Eric George, who is representing PragerU in the lawsuit, argued that “Google and YouTube use 'restricted mode filtering' not to protect younger or sensitive viewers from ‘inappropriate’ video content, but as a political gag mechanism to silence PragerU.”

Among those supporting Prager in the suit is former California Governor Pete Wilson, who said that Google/YouTube's action “constitutes unlawful discrimination under California law, is a misleading and unfair business practice, and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google and YouTube’s own Terms of Use and 'Community Guidelines.'”

Marissa Streit, CEO of Prager U, pointed out that none of the censored video could be considered “inappropriate” for young viewers. “The videos do not contain any profanity, nudity, or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content and they fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines,” explained Streit, who said she has spent the past year trying to persuade Google to stop censoring PragerU content. “It's clear that someone doesn’t like what we teach and so they intend on stopping us from teaching it,” she said. “Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?”

Added Prager: “This is not a left/right issue. It is a free speech issue, which is why prominent liberals, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, are supporting our lawsuit.”

Photo: Wikipedia

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