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September 29, 2022



YouTube restores Czech politician's channel but deletes two posts that spread hate

16.9.2020 7:19
Czech politician Tomio Okamura's channel on YouTube (2020).
Czech politician Tomio Okamura's channel on YouTube (2020).

Czech daily Hospodářské noviny (HN) reports that YouTube has restored the channel used by Czech politician Tomio Okamura after keeping it offline for one month, but has removed two videos that administrators consider to be spreading hate. Originally the social media platform shut down his entire channel, but the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) chair appealed.

YouTube has not commented on which specific videos have been deleted from the channel. However, the company did explain that they involved attacks on "a certain group of people" and therefore were spreading hate speech.

What's more, the intervention by the social media company means Okamura's channel will be marked internally within the firm as having been given a "first warning". If he violates YouTube's principles again, that could mean he would not be allowed to upload any more videos for seven days, after which he would have just limited access to the platform.

The head of the SPD frequently takes aim at migrants, Muslims and Romani people in his posts. His party, moreover, has been repeatedly mentioned by the Czech Interior Ministry in its reports on extremism in the Czech Republic as the main group spreading racial and religious intolerance and xenophobia in the Czech Republic.

The most recent videos on the channel, posted in July, were mainly dedicated to demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA. In one, Okamura alleges that the decline of society is being organized by nonprofits supported by the Democratic politicians Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Another video posted to the channel shows a scuffle between demonstrators and police officers in London that Okamura calls a "Rampage by immigrants and 'anti-racism fighters' ". When asked for comment by HN, Barbora Zeťová, the SPD spokesperson, said that the party does not believe Okamura is spreading hate speech.

"He is publishing videos showing the criminal deeds of migrants and inadaptable people in Western Europe and in the USA so the public can see what the situation in the West is like and what awaits us if we give the green light to migration from Africa and from Muslim countries. Pointing to these facts is not spreading hate," the SPD spokesperson said.

However, according to Jan Charvát, an expert on extremism, pushing the envelope on what it is possible to accept as a "fact" or not is a crucial aspect of extremist propaganda. "The author is demonstrably not telling the entire truth about several of these posts and his allegations lack all context, which if it were included would demonstrate that the reality of the situation is different from his interpretation," he explained.

One example, according to the expert, is exactly the information about the violence that is allegedly being committed during demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA. Recent studies, according to Charvát, document that violence has accompanied a bare minimum of those assembles.

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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