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Germany: Silence for government critics

BigTech companies continue to lower the volume of critical voices of the government. Especially the objections to the corona measures, they seem to be painful in the ears. At the moment, more and more content is being deleted and channels are being restricted. This is what recently happened to the journalist Boris Reitschuster. Last week he was streaming a demonstration against the federal government's corona policy on his YouTube channel. A reaction from the platform followed promptly.

The Google-owned company removed the video because it allegedly violated the "Medical Misinformation Policy". After the journalist resisted the blockade, YouTube initially agreed and lifted it, only to criticize another video a little later: The live broadcast of a demonstration against Covid measures in Berlin. "Overall, the intention behind the deletions is to crack down on votes in a harsh and harassing manner, especially with regard to the upcoming federal elections," Reitschuster said to Junge Freiheit.

His entire channel with around 224,000 subscribers was blocked for a week. During this time he cannot upload any videos. The subscribers did not receive any information from YouTube. It looks similar with the economist and publicist Max Otte. His YouTube channel with several hundred thousand subscribers was also blocked for one week.

Otte: Living in an age of massive censorship
The reason for this is a video that he uploaded last Saturday. It featured the speech of the former national soccer player Thomas Berthold at a demonstration of the “lateral thinking” movement. On the evening of the same day, YouTube removed the video and blocked the channel. In the past, five more videos had already been removed from Otte's channel, but three of them were released after an objection.

Otte sees German society having arrived in an "age of massive censorship", he said to Junge Freiheit. "Freedom of expression is not only severely restricted, it is often actually abolished where it matters, namely when it comes to the statements of relevant decision-makers and opinion leaders."

Successful videos are targeted by censors
A third fellow sufferer is blogger Gunnar Kaiser, whose YouTube channel is currently also blocked for a week. He is also charged with disseminating “false medical information” in a video that was objected to by moderator Jörg Kachelmann before the deletion. It was accessed 350,000 times within a week.

The deputy Berlin state chairman of the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative (JA), Martin Kohler suspects that content will be deleted in particular that attracts a great deal of attention beyond their usual audience. As a result, they were "targeted" and reported more frequently, says Kohler to Junge Freiheit.

Beer and pretzel - too much for Instagram

He hit the threshold on the Instagram social network. There the company, which belongs to Facebook, removed a picture showing Kohler reading on his balcony. Reading is the book “Nation, Populism, Sustainability” by the head of the AfD parliamentary group, Alexander Gauland. There is a glass of beer on the table in front of Kohler and a pretzel in his hand. Food and drink in the form of emojis are, according to the "Correctiv Research Office", often picked up by users who want to express a "bond with German traditions".

Instagram, on the other hand, sees "violence" or "a dangerous organization" behind it, as stated in the reason for the measure. "Deletions are followed by blocks," Kohler makes clear. Instagram is the most important medium for young people.

The cases of Reitschuster, Kaiser and Otte showed that alternative media were being increasingly curtailed. By blocking the most important communication platforms, critical voices are silenced. Reitschuster also sees the erasure thresholds as a “general attack on government critics” a few months before the federal election, as he makes clear on Twitter. Whoever sleeps now will wake up in dark times.

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