Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

YouTube Takes Down Radical Cleric's Videos

According to this New York Times story, YouTube has removed videos by Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric born in the United States who often targets the U.S. audiences with his words. YouTube spokesperson Victoria Grand indicated that the decision to take down the clips was difficult and required a balancing of free speech and security concerns.

In an e-mail, Victoria Grand, a YouTube spokeswoman, said that the site had removed videos that violated the site’s guidelines prohibiting “dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech and incitement to commit violent acts,” or came from accounts “registered by a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization,” or used to promote such a group’s interests.

Both the United States and Great Britain urged Google, YouTube's owner, to take down the videos, especially as concerns have mounted over their influence. MP Stephen Timms was stabbed on May 14 by Roshonara Choudhry, who said she watched Mr. al-Awlaki's videos frequently before carrying the attack.

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