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Sudarshan News’ YouTube Poll Coverage Filled with Hate Speech, Report Reveals

The report uncovers YouTube’s inaction on violations despite flagged videos propagating various Islamophobic conspiracy theories

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A comprehensive report has brought to light alarming revelations about Sudarshan News’ election coverage on YouTube, exposing a proliferation of hate speech and misinformation. Despite numerous flagged videos, YouTube failed to take action, prompting scrutiny of its policies and practices, the report, shared exclusively with Decode, said.

The collaborative effort by the Dalit Solidarity Forum, Indian American Muslim Council, India Civil Watch International, Hindus for Human Rights, and Tech Justice Law Project meticulously outlines 26 videos from Sudarshan News during the recent Lok Sabha elections. Shockingly, 17 of these videos were disseminated during the polling phases, exacerbating tensions and spreading false narratives.

Established in 2005, Sudarshan News has garnered notoriety for its dissemination of misinformation, hate speech, and conspiracy theories with strong Islamophobic undertones. Led by its founder, chairman, and editor-in-chief, Suresh Chahvanke, the channel has unabashedly promoted ‘Hindu interests’ at the expense of minority groups, particularly Muslims. Despite legal controversies surrounding Chahvanke’s inflammatory rhetoric, Sudarshan News continues its operations with impunity.

The flagged videos propagated various Islamophobic conspiracy theories, including the notorious “Love Jihad,” “Vote Jihad,” and “Namaz Qurbani”, targeting Muslims with vitriolic language and dehumanising portrayals. These videos not only fuelled communal tensions but also disseminated misinformation about the Indian National Congress and other opposition leaders.

Despite the egregious violations, Sudarshan News’ YouTube channel, boasting 1.65 million subscribers and over 301 million views, faced no repercussions from YouTube. This failure to act has raised concerns about YouTube’s commitment to combating hate speech and misinformation, particularly during critical electoral periods.

Furthermore, the report sheds light on YouTube’s complicity in funding hate content by sharing ad revenue with Sudarshan News. Brands like Make My Trip, Goibibo, Zomato, and even the BJP inadvertently supported this dissemination of hate speech through their advertisements on the platform.

YouTube’s policies ostensibly prohibit content inciting violence or spreading false narratives. However, the report exposes glaring discrepancies between policy rhetoric and enforcement practices. Despite repeated flagging and reporting, none of Sudarshan News’ videos have been taken down, underscoring YouTube’s failure to uphold its own standards.

In response, YouTube has come under scrutiny for its failure to act against videos published by Sudarshan News, despite violating its policies on hate speech and misinformation. The report highlights YouTube’s lack of action against violators like Sudarshan News, raising concerns about its commitment to combating hate content and misinformation.

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