The online video streaming platform Youtube has removed the entire archive of the weekly interview show ‘On Contact’. The Emmy-nominated show was hosted by Chris Hedges for six years for RT America and RT International. According to the journalist, the social media platform took arbitrary action against him because it believed his show promoted pro-Russian content since it was aired on RT, an English-language news network funded by the Kremlin and based out of Moscow.
On March 28, Chris Hedges also published an article on scheerpost.com titled, “Hedges: On Being Disappeared”. In the article, the American journalist revealed how the entire archive of his show mysteriously vanished from the social media site probably because the social media platform felt that his videos promoted pro-Russian content.
According to Chris Hedges, YouTube blocked his programme on the platform in the “name of censoring Russian propaganda” because it was broadcast on RT, the English-language news network funded by the Kremlin and based in Moscow.
He claimed that he received no inquiry or notice from YouTube prior to his program’s sudden disappearance from the platform.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist said, “I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin.”
‘Not one show dealt with Russia, but YouTube still had my show blacklisted and removed’: Chris Hedges
The American journalist explained that in his entire programme there was not one show that dealt with Russia, however, he was “blacklisted” since his programme was aired on RT.
He said, “I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of US imperialism and militarism and, of the corporate control of the two ruling parties, and especially because I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, I was blacklisted.”
“I was on RT for the same reason the dissident Vaclav Havel, who I knew, was on Voice of America during the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. It was that or not be heard. Havel had no more love for the policies of Washington than I have for those of Moscow.
Here it becomes imperative to know that RT (formerly Russia Today), the English-language news network funded by the Kremlin and based in Moscow, was dropped from YouTube and American cable in early March this year. Britain’s media regulator had also revoked RT’s license to broadcast in the United Kingdom in the month of March 2022, with immediate effect, citing its links with Russia amid the Ukraine-Russia war.
“Ofcom revoked the licence that allowed RT to broadcast… banned in the EU. Elsewhere, Tory education minister Nadhim Zahawi has warned parliament that the government will ‘crack down’ on academics who question the mainstream narrative on the war”https://t.co/pjnRvg6pba— CroydonConstitutionalists (@CroydonConst) March 23, 2022
In his article, journalist Chier Hedges went on to slam the online video streaming platform, YouTube for stifling the voices of critics who challenge the dominant narrative. He also chastised the “liberal class” for supporting such arbitrary censorship.
The American journalist castigates YouTube, hauls ‘liberals’ over the coals for supporting sweeping arbitrary censorship
“The most vocal cheerleaders for this censorship are the liberal class. Terrified of the enraged crowds of QAnon conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists, gun-toting militias, and cult-like Trump supporters that grew out of the distortions of neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, and the collapse of social programs, they plead with the digital monopolies to make it all go away,” said Chris Hedges.
The journalist further questioned the unjust treatment meted out to him. “What were my sins? I did not, like my former employer, The New York Times, sell you the lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, peddle conspiracy theories about Donald Trump being a Russian asset, put out a 10-part podcast called the Caliphate that was a hoax, or tells you that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop was “disinformation.” I did not prophesize that Joe Biden was the next FDR or that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election.”
The award-winning journalist added that he was not the only one who has been subjected to such harassment by the social media platform. YouTube regularly removes or demonetizes channels without warning, usually by arguing that the content contained videos that violated YouTube’s community guidelines, said Chris Hedges.
“The de-platforming of voices like mine, which are already blocked by commercial media and marginalised by algorithms, is accompanied by a pernicious campaign to funnel people back into the arms of “establishment” media outlets like CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post,” deplored the journalist.
YouTube blocks Indian news outlet WION
Notably, Youtube, this month, also blocked Indian news channel WION for seven days for broadcasting a portion of the speech by the Russian foreign minister. According to the statement issued by the WION network, Youtube blocked the WION channel on the platform for publishing a speech made by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. The platform had blocked the news outlet from uploading any new content on its channel.
Days later, on March 22, YouTube reportedly sent a message to WION saying they would not be allowed to post any videos. They said it violated YouTube’s community guidelines. According to WION, they made an appeal to YouTube, however, it was rejected. The media outlet said they wrote to Youtube demanding an explanation.
WION has claimed that it was not the only media that telecast the Russian Foreign Minister’s speech, but several Youtube channels, including the western media outlets, had put up the video. However, Youtube decided to censor WION on the pretext that the video promoted pro-Russian content.