Youtube released censored video

Earlier I wrote an article on a video that has been removed from Youtube on request of the Belgian national railroad operator (NMBS). This video showed someone protesting the strikes by making a fake announcement on a train. On the 25th of March the owner of the blocked account notified me with good news. After a review Youtube decided that the video in question was not in violation of the “Youtube’s community guidelines”.

That Youtube restored the situation is obviously a good thing. However there is still is something fundamentally wrong with the attitude Youtube takes in cases like this. There is an important principle in modern democracies that was not respected by Youtube, “The Presumption of Innocence”. A better procedure for Youtube to follow would be to properly examine any claim before taking video’s offline. This approach would be more just.

Youtube might have serious faults in it’s policies. The real vital question is why would the NMBS do this? It suffers no commercial damage from this video. It can’t suffer any commercial damage at all considering it has a monopoly on passenger transport in Belgium. It might have suffered some image damage from this action. But it obviously suffers considerably more image damage from the strikes itself. To my knowledge there has never been any attempt to silence the strikers.

I think our government should investigate from who within the NMBS the action to take down this video originated. It’s obvious that this person has no respect for the right to freedom of speech. A reprimand for this person seems in order.