Saturday, November 19, 2011

Censorship in Germany

I am quite pissed at the moment. You may recall that I recently wrote the blog entry »Video advertising German military« in which I embedded a youtube video that was put online by bundesregierung, the official youtube channel of the German government.

For several reasons I am currently adding text links pointing to the already posted videos and in this process noticed that the video has been made unavailable by making it private. Here is a backup copy someone made:

Die Bundeswehr online

I do not have an issue with people making videos private but I do have an issue with governments removing information for the only reason that it possibly sheds a negative light on them. Let’s see what wikipedia has to say about political censorship:
Political censorship exists when a government attempts to conceal, distort, or falsify information that its citizens receive by suppressing or crowding out political news that the public might receive through news outlets.
I’d call the youtube channel such an outlet and while the video is an advertisement for the Bundeswehr, it also transports information, namely that the government does not want the Bundeswehr to be the very last resort when having to defend the actual German territory (the purpose for which it was set up) but to take an active role wherever and whenever it is deemed necessary.

Regardless what I personally think about the message (I grew up when the GDR still existed and the shared hope at that time was that the Bundeswehr would never have go to war) it is unacceptable to first put the video online and then a) make it unavailable and b) do so by not altogether taking it offline but simply marking it private.

I am not pissed because they removed the video but because they only pretended to do so while in fact they left it online and only made sure it is not available for the masses. Here is what I wrote to them:

message to bundesregierung (youtube)

Translation: For what purpose has the Bundeswehr video with the ID neNdW5Qx5IM been later [after being put online] made private? Or has it been assumed that this event would go unnoticed?

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