The videos of Forum for Democracy leader Thierry Baudet, in which he speaks about the corona crisis, have rightly been removed by video platform YouTube. The videos therefore do not have to be put back online. The court of Amsterdam has determined this today.
It concerns two videos that were uploaded by Forum for Democracy. These were later removed by YouTube because, according to the tech company, there was talk of spreading medical disinformation.
The first video of March 17 shows a speech that Baudet gave at a campaign meeting in Diemen, on the day of the elections to the House of Representatives. He criticizes the cabinet’s corona policy, among other things.
Videos removed and suspended
On 3 July, the party posted a video in which Baudet speaks out against the corona measures during a debate in the House of Representatives. He calls the coronavirus a “flu variation”, and denounces the lockdown, the use of mouth caps and the one and a half meter rule. According to the politician, the authorized corona vaccines are “experimental injections”. An unrecognized animal wormer would be a “fine” alternative.
This video was removed by the platform on July 15. YouTube found that the content violated the platform’s rules regarding information about the coronavirus. The video from Diemen was removed on June 29. The political party’s account was then also temporarily suspended. For a week, no videos, live streams or messages could be posted.
Forum for Democracy (FVD) lodged an objection to the removal with YouTube, but the company rejected it. The political party then went to court. FVD is of the opinion that there is “an intolerable interference with the freedom of expression”.
Rules of YouTube
But according to the judge, that is not the case. YouTube is allowed to determine its own corona policy. Users must adhere to it. Forum violated those rules and so, according to the court, removal and suspension was reasonable. YouTube is not obliged to give Forum for Democracy the opportunity to reach its supporters, the court motivated its ruling.
Baudet responded via Twitter to the statement: “YouTube cannot just curtail the democratic process and the people’s representatives. It is an infringement of the free debate.” According to him, the judge does not address the question of whether YouTube’s guidelines “may be set without limits”. He does not rule out further steps.