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Delhi court orders YouTube to remove offensive videos against the Sikh religion

A Delhi court has restrained Google India from uploading/publishing “videos containing hate speeches and derogatory remarks against any religion and in particular against Sikh Gurus and Sikh religion.” The court also ordered Google India to “remove all such videos featuring Sakshi Bhardwaj already in circulation on social media, including videos on YouTube containing hate speeches about Sikh Gurus and Sikh religion.” This was first reported by Bar&Bench.

This order was passed on November 2, 2017 and Google India has to comply “within seven days of receipt of this order.”

After the reviewing the videos in question featuring Sakshi Bhardwaj, the court was of the opinion that “the followers of Sikh faith are likely to feel grave insult to their religious sentiments by continued circulation of videos of Sakshi Bhardwaj on social media. Moreover, social harmony and law and order situation is likely to get adversely affected, if (Google India) is not restrained from publication of the derogatory videos.”

It had been alleged in the complaint filed that Google India had refused to remove the offensive videos from YouTube without the intervention of the court.

Note that in September this year, a case had been registered against Bhardwaj for posting a number of anti-Sikh videos on social media, by the Ambala police (in Haryana) under Section 295 of the IPC, which deals with “injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion”, as reported by TOI.

YouTube ad policy

Earlier this year, in June, YouTube updated its advertising policy for content creators to prevent content with hate messages or discrimination of any type from featuring ads and monetizing the content. This was an update on the initial set of guidelines YouTube had announced in March this year.

Besides hateful and discriminatory content, YouTube will also prevent content with inappropriate use of family entertainment characters and incendiary and demeaning content from placing advertisements. Note that this update is specifically for YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines, to determine eligibility for advertising. In case a particular piece of content is deemed ‘hateful’ but satisfies YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, it can still remain on the platform, even though it won’t be eligible for advertising.

YouTube pulled up for not removing videos featuring island tribe

Last month, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had summoned YouTube for not removing videos on the Jarawa tribe, a small tribe of less than 500 in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. In July, the commission had ordered YouTube to remove all videos that featured the tribe. At the time, YouTube dismissed the commission’s directive without referring to it directly as a ‘legal request’, and told ET that it would only comply with valid legal requests for content that violates Indian laws or its own community guidelines.


Read: Copy of the Order

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