YouTube blocked a channel reporting human rights abuses in Xinjiang

Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights allegedly violated the platform’s rules on the disclosure of personal information. The managers announce that they will move their videos to Odysee

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YouTube has blocked the contents of a channel that denounces human rights abuses against the Muslim minority of the Uighurs by China in the western province of Xinjiang. Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights publishes the testimonies of family members of people detained in Chinese internment camps in Xinjiang, but has been repeatedly suspended for disclosing personal information, in violation of YouTube policies.

Since 2017 Atajurt has uploaded nearly 11,000 videos for a total of over 120 million views. Thousands of these show people talking on camera about relatives they say have disappeared without a trace. People show their ID cards which show they are related to the residents disappeared.

On June 15, the channel was blocked for violating YouTube’s guidelines, according to a screenshot seen of Reuters, after twelve of his videos were reported to have violated his policy of “Cyberbullismo of television”. It seems content has broken the platform’s rule against display of personal information.

YouTube reportedly asked Atajurt to cut or hide the identity cards in the videos, but the channel administrator said he didn’t want to do so out of concern that such action would damage his credibility. The channel was restored three days later, most of the videos are back available following appeals, but some are still blocked.

Meanwhile, the managers of Atajurt would have decided to do a copy of the videos and to leave YouTube thereafter. According to reports from Reuters, they will move to the smaller blockchain-based video platform Odysee. Nearly a thousand videos have already migrated from YouTube.

Google told the Mit Technology Review who welcomes “Responsible efforts to document important human rights cases around the world”, but added that YouTube has “Strict policies that prohibit harassment [..] including the doxxing, which is why it does not allow the disclosure of sensitive personal data.

The United Nations and rights groups estimate that they have been detained over in recent years in Xinjiang one million Uighurs, in the course of a persecution, a fact that China disputes. Atajurt had previously been praised by several organizations including Human Rights Watch for helping to expose human rights violations in the province.

Categories:   Internet