Western official foreign policy megaphone, Youtube, bans Yemeni media
The closed channels had more than 500 thousand subscribers with more than 7 thousand videos and more than 90 million views.
Not for one day of the 9-year war on Yemen did the Saudi-Western blockade and controls against the country restricted to the physical, but also expanded and widely covered the media and information sectors. On Monday, July 17, YouTube removed dozens of channels from its network that belonged to various organizations in Yemen. The Revolutionary Media Center (RMC), which is situated in Sanaa, the Yemeni military media, the Ansar Allah band, and its creative and documentary production divisions are among the organizations that were be impacted by the ban, according to Yemeni Al-Masirah TV channel.
The closed channels had more than 500 thousand subscribers with more than 7 thousand videos and upwards of 90 million views.
According to the Yemeni Military Media, the recent shutdown of its platforms, along with those of other national platforms, on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, is a blatant example of "double standards and a two-faced policy by the management of these companies in support of hostilities led by the US-Saudi-Emirati coalition of aggression."
YouTube, according to the military media, is "seeking to harness the media assets of the countries of aggression to serve their colonial project." They also called the unfriendly action an act of "intellectual terrorism." Yemen-related national pages, accounts, and channels have previously been blocked, restricted, and closed without providing a clear cause or an explanation.
Yemeni media during the war
During the long war on the country that followed the 21 September revolution, Yemeni media had an almost impossible task to achieve. Reporting on the conflict against an almost complete dominance of Arab media from the Saudi-led coalition and a general Western complacency proved to be an arduous task, but nevertheless, Yemeni national media was up for the task.
Yemeni national media used what little was available of modern equipment to fulfill its duty as the blockade made importing such equipment much more difficult. The Yemeni media had to report the events ongoing on the fronts of Yemen, to dispel the claims of the Saudi-led coalition of achieving full dominance over the battlefield on one hand, and to show the Yemeni people the achievement of its soldiers on the frontlines, thus almost nullifying the effects of the ongoing psyops aiming to shake the morale of the people in this war of liberation.
On the other hand, Yemeni media outlets had a more strenuous task, one of reporting the crimes the Saudi-led coalition, which never fell short of committing war crimes against civilians using mostly Western-manufactured munitions. The media had to report the casualties caused by the air raids and artillery, as well as the calamities the blockade was causing, such as the lack of medications, food, and baby formulas, and their consequent effects.
Narrating tales of soldiers and ordinary Yemenis during the war was a mission that Yemeni media paid dozens of martyrs to accomplish, never retreating even one step backward in their path.
Western coverage biases
The great majority of Western media choose the Saudi-led coalition's side, complementing their respective countries' Navies in imposing a firm siege against a country in a war fought in self-defense.
Every now and then, reports did come to light showing only narrow and reductive images regarding the humanitarian crisis that struck the country, but rarely did that light reveal or point at the party responsible for such inhumane acts, as if the "the conflict" had been raging for obscure and convoluted reasons. In that optic, for "some reason" ships can't land in Yemeni ports, that reason is rarely specified though.
The comparison between the Western media coverage of the Ukraine war on the one hand, and Yemen and Palestine events on the other, has been exhausted by many, but the point holds. Without going into the details or examples of such behavior, such discrepancy in coverage and double standards shows in earnest the level of symbiosis between the Western governments' foreign policy and its media outlets' editorial lines.
A few examples of Western reports regarding arms supplies of their countries to Saudi Arabia, such as in Italy, Germany, or the UK, are hardly capable of ruffling any feathers. Such reports can be seen in the optic of the internal power struggle if published by mega-budget mainstream media outlets, more than an actual attempt to shed light on crimes against humanity being committed with Western arms.
The editorial line regarding Ukraine shows that there is no room for maneuvering or second opinions, as dissidents are either discredited publicly or attacked on a career level, not to mention the threat of legal charges being pressed in some scenarios. The line is clear, and the narrative regarding the holy Western war against Russia must be respected by all. It contributes to the fact that media outlets in capitalist societies are enslaved by the source of their funding, or punished on a market level if they break the general line of conduct, such as advertisers pulling and fewer funds being funneled.
Official foreign policy megaphones
In light of previously mentioned mechanisms prevailing in Western societies, and the current unitary Western foreign policy that is hostile to Sanaa and the Yemeni revolution, it seems that a change is far from happening. Anticipating such a change is akin to waiting for apples to fall off an orange tree.
YouTube's actions in blocking Yemeni content go in line with such conclusions, as any liberty or freedom of expression can only be valid if it goes with official US foreign policy in such regards, especially if it comes from a location where people possess the material means to liberate themselves and their country. In other words, the Yemeni revolution employed military means of resistance and possessed the ability to change facts on the ground, meaning that even the culture and art it produced were targeted for bans and forbidden; otherwise, why would you remove a channel posting Nasheeds and songs?
In 2006, one of the prime targets of the Israeli air raids in Lebanon was the Al Manar TV channel. Why would you bomb a TV channel? It makes even less sense from an Israeli standpoint. So if the channel was, according to the Israeli narrative, spreading fake news and lies, wouldn't it be foolish to bomb an outlet that is hurting your enemy since that's what fake news does?
In reality, the bombing at that time was a deliberate attempt to hollow and crush the Lebanese people's spirit, since combatants are hardly affected by news from the frontlines because they are situated there. Going back to the Yemen case, attacks against media platforms and journalists fall into the same category of military actions, i.e. a psyop.
The psyop in this case targets both the people of Yemen and the Yemeni revolution's supporters abroad, in the West and the Arab world in particular. YouTube, alongside Telegram, was a prime source of not only battle updates and news from Yemen, but also the cultural and artistic content that made up the identity and face of the Yemeni revolution. Removing the virtual link between Yemen and its supporters abroad aims to alienate the latter by making it harder to resew such liaison.
YouTube removing Yemeni media platforms this July was not the first incident committed by the platform, not to mention other media platforms that support the resistance project against foreign hegemony in the region.
Fortunately, As previously mentioned, Telegram and other platforms are still available to share content on the Yemeni revolution and Yemen in general, as the social media and information sphere drift further away from the total domination of Western outlets and firms. In the era of multipolarity and the great variety of choices of social media, dodging bans can prove to be much simpler than expected. Such actions by YouTube can hardly shake Sanaa and the Yemenis, as they were subjected during these years to the harshest conditions of war and siege, let alone changes to the situation on the ground.
The effects are then limited, but it shows the extent Western media and social media platforms are willing to reach in tarnishing their proclaimed values, such as freedom of expression, when it comes to abiding by their governments' foreign policy interests.