YouTube accused of 'arbitrary action' against independent journalists' channels in India
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Questions are being raised over YouTube's allegedly arbitrary action against independent journalists' initiatives and their channels in India.
The company is being accused of shutting channels without citing a proper reason.
Khushboo Akhtar, who had a YouTube channel that had 6.8 lakh (680,000) subscribers was informed that her channel had been terminated, all of a sudden.
This comes just in wake of senior journalist Yashwant Singh's channel witnessing removal of advertisements, without any reason.
Akhtar, who had painstakingly produced 4,500 videos that had grabbed 130 million eyeballs, was suddenly terminated. She says that YouTube has illegally terminated Pal Pal News Youtube channel without giving her a chance to defend. "YouTube has unethically finished all this in one strike", she writes in a Facebook post.
Similarly, Yashwant Singh, who runs a famous media watchdog website, had advertisements removed from his channel, all of a sudden. Singh says, "This is an absolutely autocratic attitude. They stopped the advertisement on our YouTube channel without informing us about the reason".
"There was no copyright violation, no duplicacy of videos, no such content that would promote hate or violence. Then, on what basis they took the action. Strangely, it seems that there is no human contact to respond on their part".
"It is absolute anarchy, as there is no mechanism apparently, how to get to a person in the company and talk to them". Independent journalists who have been trying to raise their voice say that it has lately become a major issue in India.
On one hand, media houses that have established TV channels can run content--picking it up from WhatsApp or smaller websites without credit, and have no issue, there is stern action against indepedent journos or new web initiatives that lack resources, and action is taken without giving any proper reason for it.
Ironically, the big media in India has often been accused of succumbing to power and the new media that dares to keep democratic space open is witnessing this crackdown. Besides, journalists who have been critical of the establishment have been fired.
Akhtar who runs the website, PalPalNews.in, says that she had taken up issues like lynchings and this apparently didn't go down well with certain sectioms and hence her channels faced it. But she is determined to fight.
Yashwant Singh says that he too won't sit silent. "It is really strange. They stopped monetization for us. But are running the advertisements. So the money is going in their pocket". His channel has over 81,000 subscribers. He says that Google-Youtbe must stop acting like 'internet autocrats'.
Many journalists who started their YouTube channels rue that there seems no way--no proper email contact or any other medium to interact with an employee to understand what violation led to the suspension or termination of any account.