Youtube suspends Emmanuel TV for hate speech, violations
Youtube, an online video-sharing platform owned by Google, has suspended popular Christian television channel, Emmanuel TV, the YouTube channel belonging to Pastor Temitope Joshua of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Lagos, for allegedly propagating hate speech and violating some of its policies.
The suspension was announced by the pastor on his Twitter account on Wednesday. The channel, which had over 1,800,000 subscribers and 600,000,000 views before the suspension, was among the largest in Nigeria and reportedly the most-watched Christian ministry ever on YouTube.
He said the channel was suspended over a video said to contain hate speech. “Emmanuel TV YouTube suspension: Our mission is to share the love of God with everyone, irrespective of race or religion and we strongly oppose all forms of hate speech! We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in haste,” he tweeted.
On his Facebook page, the pastor urged Nigerians to raise their concerns over his channel’s suspension on other social media platforms. He also uploaded the video said to be the cause of the suspension.
The announcement led to public outcry from Joshua’s followers who vented their frustrations on social media about the suspension.
Confirming the development to The Guardian in an eMail, a Youtube spokesperson said: “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibits hate speech and we remove flagged videos and comments that violate these policies. In this case, we have terminated the channel.”
Recall that last month, another Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome’s religious TV channel, Loveworld, was sanctioned by The Office of Communications in the United Kingdom (Ofcom) for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
Ofcom, is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal industries of the United Kingdom. Ofcom, in a statement on its official Twitter page, said the station was fined £125,000 (N65.6m) for breaching the country’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.
In the video clip, the pastor was heard saying, “God hates sin, not sinners. When the Bible says, ‘Do not judge so that you will not be judged’, it means we should hate sin, not the sinner because sinners can change. If you have killed a sinner by judging him, there will be no opportunity for change.
“Sinners can be delivered. We should hate the act, not the people because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the ‘spirit beings’ that cause all these acts.”
“I have followed SCOAN and Emmanuel TV for 18 years and not once have I encountered any form of hate speech,” Suzanne Mare wrote to YouTube’s official Facebook Page. “I find your censorship extremely disturbing!”
“Dear YouTube,” wrote Mr Mutepfe on Twitter. “Emmanuel TV has done nothing but spread love. Not a single day has the channel promoted hate or prejudice towards any race, gender, colour or creed.”
“I had depression and attempted suicide twice but after watching Emmanuel TV and realising how much God loves me, my life was saved,” Rita Machipanda emotionally wrote on Facebook, pleading with YouTube to restore the channel.
YouTube had earlier awarded Emmanuel TV a ‘Gold Creator Award’ for surpassing 1,000,000 subscribers, an achievement, which attracted commendation from the company’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki.
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