Thursday, October 14, 2021

YouTube removes UK MP's vaccine pass speech

YouTube censors David Davis MP’s speech against vaccine passports | Big Brother Watch:

October 14, 2021 - "YouTube has removed a video of former minister David Davis MP giving a speech against Covid passports during Conservative Party Conference. The video was uploaded by the non-partisan civil liberties NGO, Big Brother Watch. 

"YouTube removed Davis’ speech, filmed at a conference fringe event held by Big Brother Watch, for violating its policy on 'medical misinformation' but did not specify what content had breached the rules. In a notification email to Big Brother Watch, the platform said: 'YouTube doesn’t allow claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO)'....

"In the censored speech, Mr Davis promoted the benefits of vaccination but warned that domestic vaccine passports are 'illiberal, demanding that we an ordinary British citizen produce our papers to do something which is normal in our daily lives.... We know from our history that a free society is a greater, a better, a more economically successful, a happier place to be,' Mr Davis said.

"Big Brother Watch, which is leading the national campaign against domestic Covid passes, said that the group ... is mounting an appeal.

"David Davis MP said:

This is an outrageous attack on free speech. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen blatant attempts by Big Tech to silence opposition voices challenging the conventional wisdom. This episode serves as a further example of the worrying trend of strangling free speech.
My speech at conference was carefully researched, wholly accurate and backed up with the latest scientific evidence.
This Government will shortly be bringing forward the Online Safety Bill. This harmful piece of legislation is nothing but a censor’s charter that only hands more power to these unaccountable Silicon Valley giants.
The unambiguous attempt by YouTube to censor my speech is a warning. If YouTube is happy to attempt to silence elected Members of Parliament, then they are also happy to censor anyone.... The Government must stop the erosion of free speech online. That starts with looking again at the wholly inadequate proposals in the Online Safety Bill.”

Mark Johnson, Legal and Policy Officer at Big Brother Watch said:

The removal of David Davis’ brilliant speech at our civil liberties event is a serious act of censorship from a platform with a growing track record of clamping down on free speech. YouTube has become increasingly intolerant of discussion around the pandemic.... The Government is doing nothing to tackle online censorship but stands to make the problem worse with broad rules clamping down on lawful speech in its new Online Safety Bill. This ought to be a wakeup call to politicians that freedom of speech is under severe threat in the digital world.

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[Update] YouTube U-turns over David Davis vaccination passports clip after protest | BBC News:
October 14, 2021 - "YouTube has reversed its decision to remove a video of David Davis arguing against Covid passports, following criticism from the ex-minister.... YouTube said the video was 'immediately reinstated following a review'. A spokeswoman for the company said: "We quickly remove flagged content that violates our community guidelines, including Covid-19 content that explicitly contradicts expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization. With millions of hours of videos uploaded on our site each day, sometimes we make the wrong call.'"
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