Antena 3 and YouTube Censor Debate on Venezuela’s Non-Renewal of RCTV License

A debate on the non-renewal of RCTV's broadcast license was removed from YouTube under allegations of copyright violation, along with thousands of other Venezuela-related videos, even though the site maintains many similar videos from the same broadcaster without problems.

All the big media of the entire planet raised their voice against the democratic government of Venezuela for non-renewal of the license of RCTV.  The continuous irregularities in its operation and its support for the coup d’état were no obstacles to preservation of its frequency, since the “freedom of expression” of the owners of the channel was the superior good.

It happened that, in the middle of media commotion, the Spanish television Antena 3 organized a debate to which it invited Professors Luis Alegre Zahonero and Carlos Fernández Liria, who demolished the undemocratic argument of Nitu Perez Osuna.  This program appeared on the video server YouTube, uploaded by the user Lbracci, and it was published in Aporrea as well as in Rebelión.

The owners of the Spanish channel did not like the result of the debate, so they went to YouTube to remove the video because “it violated the author’s rights.”  Nevertheless, that does not appear to be the real motive, since, if we go to this popular site and search for “Antena 3” among the videos, an endless number of programs that are still on the server show up, among them many series with a clearer commercial interest than the aforementioned debate and an interview with Marcel Granier.  From another point of view, to claim the rights of authorship for a debate in which four other people participated at the station is a clear abuse of rights.

But YouTube has not been satisfied with censoring the video cited above — instead. it has suspended the user account of “Lbracci” and has eliminated 453 other videos saved in 2006 and 2007.  The injured party says that “between 16 May and 10 June 2007 (a period of 25 days), we uploaded approximately 250 videos that were seen 1,400,000 times by people ALL OVER THE WORLD (an average of 56,000 views per day).  Although the Internet is not yet a medium that reaches all sectors of the Venezuelan population, nevertheless thousands of people inside and outside our country saw, day in day out, videos of VTV programming, thanks to this effort that we made, sincerely, free of charge.”

These are not isolated facts — the people’s media daily and constantly endure aggressions of oligarchies.  What concerns the big media is not the “freedom of expression” that they always despise, as we have been able to verify, but the democratization of information.  They can erase our news on their servers without reason and without prior warning, but what they cannot erase is a just, democratic, and sovereign decision that returns television to the people.

Rebelión‘s Note:

The program can now be watched here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 (last).

We shall now see if champions of the freedom of expression will also close down this possibility.

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This article was published in Rebelión on 12 June 2007.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi posted on MR Zine.