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Court Orders YouTube To Block Videos Of Hong Kong’s Protest Anthem

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The YouTube app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(CTN News) – On Tuesday, Alphabet’s YouTube stated that it would comply with a court judgment and block access to 32 video links deemed illegal content in Hong Kong. Critics argue that this is a blow to liberties in the financial district during a security crackdown.

The decision comes in response to a government appeal that the Hong Kong Court of Appeal approved, which sought to criminalize the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong.” The justices issued a caution, concerned that the music would be weaponized by dissidents seeking to incite rebellion against the government.

YouTube protested the court judgment, arguing that it would undermine the Hong Kong government’s attempts to foster the digital economy and restore the city’s reputation as a trustworthy corporate location.

“We share human rights groups’ concerns that the content ban may stifle online free expression,” YouTube stated. “We are disappointed by the Court’s decision but are complying with its removal order,” the business stated. “We’ll continue to consider our options for an appeal, to promote access to information.”

The US government is among many who feel the ban will harm Hong Kong’s reputation as a global financial center and raise concerns about the city’s commitment to free speech and other liberties being compromised.

In terms of free expression and the internet, “it is not a desirable situation,” according to George Chen, co-chair of digital practice at the Asia Group, a business policy consulting firm based in Washington, DC. He formerly worked as Meta’s director of public policy for Greater China.

It’s now up to the government how far and how aggressive it wants to go,” Chen said. Hong Kong’s free market environment would be undermined if you started sending 100 or 1,000 URLs per day for removal. Hong Kong is making a crucial decision regarding how to maintain its image today, as foreign investors place a high value on predictable and stable policy environments.”

Industry associations have claimed that maintaining a free and open internet in Hong Kong is “fundamental” to the city’s survival. One of these organizations is the Asia Internet Coalition, which represents big technology companies such as Meta, Apple, and Google.

The Hong Kong administration did not respond to a request for information immediately.

The United States’ technology industry and Google parent Alphabet, which has limited goods when required by law, are not the first in the globe to take this step. The content has been removed in China.

Since YouTube is not available in mainland China,

Google deleted its search engine from the nation in 2010. A spokeswoman for YouTube, a division of California-based Alphabet located in Mountain View, confirmed that video geoblocking would begin immediately for Hong Kong users.

As Google’s procedures change, connections to the videos will gradually disappear from Hong Kong Google Search, according to YouTube. When someone attempted to watch the song on YouTube from Hong Kong, the following message appeared: “This content is not available on this country domain due to a court order.”

There is no official anthem for Hong Kong. Composed in 2019 amidst widespread pro-democracy demonstrations, “Glory to Hong Kong” became an unofficial alternative song for China’s “March of the Volunteers.”

In recent years, the US government has sanctioned Hong Kong officials for a broad national security crackdown on dissent, which resulted in the detention of many opposition Democrats and the closure of liberal media outlets and civil society organizations.

In 1997, the former British colony was returned to China with the certainty that its liberties would be protected under the “one country, two systems” policy.

According to a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hong Kong had to cease the song’s circulation in order to ensure the country’s safety.

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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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