CPJ urges Facebook to restore ‘censored’ press freedom awards video

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Freedom of the Press 2021 video removed by Facebook, but still available on YouTube and Twitter. Video: CPJ (Hong Kong Crackdown 32m: 05s)

Pacific Media Watch Press Office

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Facebook to restore a video honoring winners of the International Press Freedom Awards (IPFA) during CPJ’s annual awards ceremony held on November 18 and broadcast on social media during the event.

Less than an hour after the broadcast ended, Facebook informed CPJ that the video had been held up worldwide due to a “copyright match” with a 13-second clip owned by i- Cable News, a Cantonese language cable news channel based in Hong Kong. , reports CPJ.

CPJ emailed i-Cable Communications Limited on November 24 asking for details, but received no immediate response.

The clip, featuring Jimmy Lai taking a bite of an apple, was taken from an advertisement for the now closed Apple Daily dating back to the 1990s when he founded the newspaper.

Currently imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Lai has become a powerful symbol of press freedom as the Chinese Communist Party seeks to take control of Hong Kong’s media and was honored at CPJ’s awards ceremony for his work.

It’s unclear if Facebook applied the action automatically, or if i-Cable News complained in an attempt to remove the video.

The media group, i-Cable, signed an agreement in 2018 with China Mobile Limited, a public telecommunications company, allowing China Mobile to use its content for the next 20 years.

“It is beyond ironic that a platform that proclaims its commitment to freedom of expression blocks a video celebrating journalists who risk their lives and freedom to defend it,” said the deputy executive director. of CPJ, Robert Mahoney.

“Facebook should restore the video immediately and provide a clear and timely explanation of why it was censored in the first place.”

A lawyer for Donaldson and Callif, who checked the IPFA video for Culture House, the production house that cut the video, told CPJ in an email that the company believes the clip Lai “constitutes fair use as used in this IPFA video.”

The full awards video – and its comments, views and shares – remains unavailable to Facebook users worldwide. The IPFA video is still available on YouTube and Twitter.

CPJ contacted Facebook on November 19 and again on November 22 to outline CPJ’s concerns about the removal of the video, but has not yet received an explanation for the company’s action.

CPJ has documented examples of US copyright laws being used to censor journalism globally.

The press freedom organization has held IPFA award ceremonies since 1991 to honor at-risk journalists around the world and highlight erosions of press freedom.

Republished from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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