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YouTube: Champion of free speech?

On Thursday Juna 28, Google posted on its public policy blog a story entitled "Bienvenido a YouTube, RCTV!" with RCTV of coursing being the fascist, coup-plotting television station in Venezuela which thankful had its broadcasting concession expire and not renewed (Read more about the RCTV case here). Explaining the story Google writes:
On May 27, when RCTV's broadcast license expired, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez refused to renew it on the grounds that RCTV violated broadcast laws, supported a botched coup against him in 2002, and more generally offered a decidedly anti-governmental perspective. In spite of protests by thousands in the streets of Caracas, he replaced RCTV on May 28 with a state-run broadcast station.

On that same day, RCTV's news department -- operating on reduced staffing -- created a channel on YouTube on which it began airing daily three hour-long installments of its newscast "El Observador."Since then, many of RCTV's videos on YouTube have generated lively debates about freedom of expression in the "Comments & Responses" section. In the offline world, peaceful protests for freedom of speech and the reinstating of RCTV's broadcast rights continue to this day on the streets of Caracas......

So, ¡bienvenido RCTV! We predict and hope your example will inspire others to embrace the Internet as a critical means of communication when other means have been foreclosed.
Funnily enough, these champions of free speech and desemination of information neglected to report the following story.

Thankful someone was willing to speak out by embracing the internet as a critical means of communication (in fact Google blog's comment section) to denounce attempts to stifle free debate and discussion:

Hi,

My name is Luigino Bracci,

I was the owner of the channel "Lbracci" ( http://www.youtube.com/Lbracci ) in Youtube until June 11, 2007, when it was erased by Youtube.

In that channel, I uploaded more than 400 videos recorded from "Venezolana de TelevisiĆ³n" (VTV), a venezuelan state-owned TV channel, with full permission from that channel and obeying the venezuelan laws about copyright.

Unfortunely, a spanish TV channel, "Antena 3", made a complain to Youtube claiming that two videos recorded by me from "Venezolana de Television" and uploaded to Youtube were violating their copyrights (VTV used some footage from Antena 3, and that is NOT illegal in our country,nor in U.S.A. thanks to the "fair use" principle).

Youtube could erase just that pair of videos, but they prefer to delete my entire account and ALL of my 450 videos, including many videos that I could use to show you that some of your statements in this article are false, or half-truths.

The Youtube channel "elobservadorlinea" is showing only a very partial and right-wing vision of what is happening in our country, and Youtube choose to supress most of the videos showing alternative vissions.

So, what freedom of speech are you promoting? Freedom of speech just for the people that agrees with Google?


Wonder if those fearless fighters for democracy at Reporters Without Integrity, will speak out about this one.

So far Google is....well, how should i put it.....speechless

[If you read spanish then definitely check out Luigino's blog]

1 Com:

Bolivia Rising | July 03, 2007

Looks like the Venezuelan government is not the only one on Google's target list!

July 1, 2007, 1:02 pm
Google Takes On Michael Moore

By Miguel Helft

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/google-takes-on-michael-moore/

Tags: Google, healthcare, Online advertising, Sicko

For a while this weekend, it looked like Google had chosen to insert itself in the middle of the national debate over healthcare and take on controversial filmmaker Michael Moore. In an official corporate blog, a Google employee criticized Mr. Moore’s movie, Sicko, as one-sided: “Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show healthcare’s interest in patient well-being and care,” wrote Lauren Turner, a Health Account Planner at Google.

Ms. Turner went on to suggest that Google could help much-maligned health care companies to “Get the Facts” out. How? By buying ads on Google, of course.

By Sunday, after her post raised some eyebrows in the blogosphere, Ms. Turner clarified that the opinion about Sicko was hers, not Google’s. “Some readers thought the opinion I expressed about the movie Sicko was actually Google’s opinion,” she wrote. “It’s easy to understand why it might have seemed that way, because after all, this is a corporate blog. So that was my mistake — I understand why it caused some confusion.”

A Google spokesman told me much the same.

But Ms. Turner also said that she stood by her earlier comments that Google stood ready to help anyone, whether the healthcare industry or Mr. Moore’s himself: “Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore’s movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue,” she wrote.

That said, it’s not clear that Mr. Moore needs to spend money on Google to get his message out.

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