YouTube removed a video of a speech made by David Davis at a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting in which he argued against the introduction of vaccine passports in the U.K. The Independent has more.
Senior Conservative MP David Davis has accused YouTube of censoring him after the platform removed his speech criticising the use of domestic vaccine passports in Britain.
The video of the former cabinet minister – speaking on the fringes of the Tory party’s annual conference last week – was uploaded by the civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch.
In a notification email, the platform told the organisation: “YouTube doesn’t allow claims about Covid-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organisation (WHO).”
During the speech, Mr. Davis hit out at the use of domestic vaccine passports, decrying them as “illiberal, demanding that we an ordinary British citizens produce our papers to do something which is normal in our daily lives”.
The Conservative MP suggested the use of vaccine passports was about “trying to push a policy by covert coercion, about pressurising people to get vaccinated”.
Just last month, the U.K. Government dramatically shelved proposals to the [sic] enforce the mandatory use of vaccine passports at crowded venues such as nightclubs, but has kept the policy option in reserve.
Reacting angrily to the move to remove the video, which has now been reinstated on YouTube, Mr. Davis labelled it an “outrageous attack on free speech”.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen blatant attempts by big tech to silence opposition voices challenging the conventional wisdom,” he said.
Mr. Davis added: “My speech at conference was carefully researched, wholly accurate and backed up with the latest scientific fact.
“This unambiguous attempt by YouTube to censor by speech is a warning. If YouTube is happy to attempt to silence elected Members of Parliament, then they are also happy to censor anyone uploading content to their speech.”
Worth reading in full.
Let’s hope this is a wake up call to MPs about the threat posed to free speech by the Online Safety Bill, which will encourage social media platforms to be even more censorious.
Stop Press: YouTube has now reinstated the video, which you can watch here. As UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers says: “If you have a megaphone you get attention and the censorship is reversed, but if you don’t…”