21, May 2022 | CJP Team
Taking its campaign against Hate Speech to the next level, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has now approached YouTube, urging it to act swiftly and decisively against the hateful, anti-minority, and especially Islamophobic content that is uploaded onto it and shared widely.
Amidst a plethora of anonymous “content creators” who abuse the platform to churn hate using fake news, stereotyping and outright calls of violence, there is an urgent need to take a closer look at, and if needed even revamp YouTube’s Community Guidelines regarding Hate Speech.
CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign against hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!
Callous and brazen statements addressed to millions on a platform such as this one has far-reaching impact on the secular fabric of our country. CJP has written to YouTube saying that any lack of action against such miscreants, encourages them to cause mental and physical harm to a politically marginalised section of Indians, create social conflict and tension, and cause mischief that will disturb public peace and order across India.
We have stressed upon the need to act strictly and earnestly in this matter, and have suggested a robust and independent scrutiny of the content being uploaded on the website, or quick action to delete the flagged content, in order to prevent an outbreak of targeted violence against vulnerable sections.
As a set of examples, CJP’s complaint lists some hateful content on the platform which hasn’t been taken down yet despite being flagged by CJP:
1. Channel Name: Pavitr Sanatan
Video Name: Yati Narsinghanand Giri Maharaj Savage Reply II Yati Narsinghanand thug life II Bharat Hindu Rashtra
Date uploaded: February 23, 2022
2. Channel Name: Pavitr Sanatan
Video Name: Musalman gaddar hote hain | Pushpendra Kulshreshtha II #shorts
Date uploaded: March 03, 2022
3. Channel Name: CarryLime
Video Title: मतलबसमस्याकीजड़हीसेक्युलरिज्महै (The root of the problem is secularism)
4. Channel Name: CarryLime
Video Title: जागोहिन्दुओंजागो
5. Channel Name: Ishwar Lal Pracharak
Video Title: मुस्लिमहिन्दुओंकासम्मानकरनासीखें।विश्वहिंदूपरिषदकाउद्देश्य।ishwar lal pracharak ।ईश्वर
6. Channel Name: Ishwar Lal Pracharak
Video Title: भारतमेंमुस्लिमवईसाईषड्यंत्र| Bharat mein Muslim Christian Sadyantra | Ishwar Pracharak |
Referring to examples from the past, the complaint explains the potential repercussions of incitement of violence against Muslim community which has faced incidents of communal violence and genocidal pogroms that have damaged India’s social fabric for decades. It speaks about how the 2002 Gujarat genocidal carnage and the Muzaffarnagar pogrom of 2013—apart from spates of violence through the decades– demonstrates the grave impact of hate speech and hate writing that precedes targeted violence against the minorities in our country.
According to CJP, the repercussions of online hate speech would be much more now as the same message is being circulated on a much wider, national level scale which is facilitated by social media platforms like YouTube, unlike during those instances when the mode of communication was limited to pamphlets. The complaint states that suspending a few accounts or deleting some content are measures that are merely small dents on these concerted, wide-ranging, politically driven campaigns that are also aimed at misusing and manipulating platforms like YouTube for their illegal acts.
The complaint raises concern that the accounts, mostly anonymous, know that there is hardly any precedent for anyone in India from being prosecuted for misogynistic or hate speech. They are also aware that even if one handle is banned by a platform, it is easy to set up another account using another anonymous handle. The fact that they are able to have such a wide reach despite their content that is violative of YouTube’s community guidelines, means they are able to thrive and mushroom into more and more accounts.
Here is YouTube’s Hate Speech policy under their Community Guidelines:
Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes:
- Gender Identity and Expression
- Immigration Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Victims of a major violent event and their kin
- Veteran Status
Monetization and other penalties
In some rare cases, we may remove content or issue other penalties when a creator:
- Repeatedly encourages abusive audience behavior.
- Repeatedly targets, insults and abuses a group based on the attributes noted above across multiple uploads.
- Exposes a group with attributes noted above to risks of physical harm based on the local social or political context.
- Creates content that harms the YouTube ecosystem by persistently inciting hostility against a group with attributes noted above for personal financial gain.
CJP has informed YouTube that this is a violation of Sections 153 A, 153B, 295A, 298, 504 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The complaint also highlights the latest set of laws concerning social media intermediaries such as YouTube under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which requires the platforms like YouTube to exercise due diligence in terms of any content that is “defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy, including bodily privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, libellous, racially or ethnically objectionable, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise inconsistent with or contrary to the laws of India [Rules 3(1)(b)].”
In addition to the due diligence observed under rule 3, a significant social media intermediary shall also appoint, under rule 4, a Chief Compliance officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance; a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers; appoint a Resident Grievance Officer; publish periodic compliance report every month.
Most importantly, the complaint also reminds the platform about its obligations under the International Human Rights Law towards countering incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Besides various UN instruments, under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Business enterprises have responsibility to respect human rights, address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved and provide for their remediation. As per the Guidelines, business enterprises should carry out human rights due diligence (HRDD) in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights impact. Under the HRDD process, they should assess actual and potential human rights impacts, integrate and act upon the findings, track responses and communicate how impacts are addressed.
The complaint brings to their attention towards European Union’s proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) which establishes accountability standards for online platforms and how it protects European users from hate speech, disinformation and other harmful content. CJP explains how under this law, the social media platforms will have to add new procedures for faster removal of content deemed harmful and would be liable if the platforms do not remove any illegal content they detect or brought to their attention despite being aware of such acts. It urges the social media platform to adhere to the same standards in India as well.
The complaint suggests that the content on the platform is regulated and urges them to ensure that there are certain algorithms or any other method to embargo such content from being published in the first place. It reminds the platform about its moral and social obligation to take concrete steps to ensure that its platform is used for the purpose it was meant for in the first place instead of becoming a breeding ground for targeted harassment, hateful content and abuse.
Among various media platforms, social media has emerged as the strongest. Therefore, there is an urgent need to ensure responsible usage of the same. In fact, self-regulation should be seen as a moral and ethical practice. We believe, as a social media platform, YouTube owes it to its users to be a responsible company fulfilling its purpose.
CJP believes that taking concrete steps to counter online hate speech will give a sense of security to the minority community and also strengthen the values of fraternity and secularism that our Constitution of India upholds.
The complaint may be viewed here: