Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors, translates, and studies Arab, Iranian and Turkish media, schoolbooks, and religious sermons, had its YouTube channel unceremoniously removed Tuesday, Isreallycool blog reported. Claiming “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of copyright infringement,” YouTube disabled access to MEMRI’s extensive collection of translated videos via its site. Videos can still be viewed on MEMRI’s own site.
MEMRI is aware of the situation. The organization posted on twitter, “We are working on getting our YouTube channel reinstated You can watch MEMRI clips on https://www.memritv.org/ or download the MEMRI app.”
Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1998, its goal is “to bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West”. It is a crucial resource for those without Arabic or Farsi language skills who wish to understand first-hand what is going on in the Middle East. Although the videos are still available, their presence on YouTube makes them far more accessible to the public.
This is not the first time YouTube has suspended the MEMRI TV channel. In November 2013 it was taken down, with “copyright infringement” claimed, and in October 2010 it was also shut down.
According to its website, YouTube’s copyright policy follows what is known in the US as the “fair use doctrine”, which allows one to copy material for, among other things, “commentary, criticism, research, teaching, or news reporting”. Certainly MEMRI’s use of Arab-language video clips, along with their translations and a few words of context, qualify as such.
As for violations of community guidelines, although these cover a range of topics, IsreallyCool blogger “Aussie Dave”, who first reported the story, surmised the charge was related to claims of “hate speech” by those negatively impacted by MEMRI’s work.
Meanwhile, it appears anti-Israel and pro-Jihadist channels are still in operation.
Supporters of MEMRI’s work and those outraged by the YouTube channel removal are encouraging people to donate to MEMRI’s current fundraising campaign.