How public media could become a casualty of YouTube’s war on propaganda

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If YouTube was looking for a little love from British lawmakers for its new initiative to label videos from news outlets that receive state funds, the company was in for a surprise. The lawmakers, who came to Washington to hold a hearing into fake news, were even more scathing than US critics of YouTube’s idea for helping audiences understand where their news comes from. Conservative Party lawmaker Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee in the House of Commons, said YouTube’s proposal risked roping in public, independent broadcasters, such as the BBC, alongside state-backed propaganda outlets, such as Russia’s RT.

The US public broadcaster PBS has also argued that YouTube’s decision is misguided. “Labeling PBS a ‘publicly funded broadcaster’ is both vague and misleading,” a spokesman said when the labels were announced. “YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute. If YouTube’s intent is to create clarity and better understanding, this is a step in the wrong direction.”


How public media could become a casualty of YouTube’s war on propaganda