Saturday, May 25th, 2024

YouTube to block access to protest song videos in Hong Kong after court ruling

YouTube has announced its decision to block access to videos featuring performances of the banned protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” in Hong Kong. The move comes after Hong Kong’s appeals court ruled the song illegal to sing or play in the city, Voice of America reports, saying the song’s composer intended it to be used as a “weapon.” I was about to use it.

In response to the court’s decision, YouTube issued a statement expressing disappointment but confirming compliance with the takedown order. The online video sharing service highlighted concerns about the potential adverse impact on freedom of expression online and said it was considering options for filing an appeal.

YouTube planned to block access to 32 song videos in Hong Kong, which the court deemed “prohibited content”.

Searching for banned videos on YouTube in Hong Kong now results in a message stating that they are “not available on this country’s domain due to a court order”, Voice of America reports.

The ban covers any broadcast or distribution of the song for the purpose of promoting Hong Kong independence or misrepresenting it as the city’s official anthem. Despite being a semi-autonomous city, Hong Kong does not have its own anthem and the official anthem of mainland China, “March of the Volunteers”, is used.

The appeals court’s decision overturns a previous High Court decision, which had cited concerns about free speech. The government took legal action last year to ban the song after Google and other internet service providers refused to remove it from their search results. Both YouTube and Google are owned by California-based Alphabet.

The latest ban joins a series of steps taken by the government to suppress dissenting voices since Beijing imposed a sweeping security law for Hong Kong in 2020 in response to the 2019 protests. The security law criminalizes acts of terrorism, separatism, subversion of state authority or collusion with foreign forces. Since its enactment, hundreds of pro-democracy advocates have been arrested, prosecuted, and jailed, suffocating the once vibrant civil society in the city.

George Chen, co-chair of the digital practice at Washington-based consultancy Asia Group, expressed concern that daily pressure from authorities to remove online content could damage Hong Kong’s reputation as a global financial center. Such actions could raise questions about the city’s commitment to allowing the free flow of information, Voice of America reports.

Share on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *