The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has in a statement, expressed shocked at the sudden termination of the channel Media Star World by Youtube. This small but popular news and views channel had 820 thousand subscribers and at least 4.9 thousand videos to its credit. This Delhi based channel offered world news and views on current affairs, with a particular focus on West Asia affairs. The broadcasts were mostly in Hindustani and aimed at the average viewer. During the current crisis in Gaza its viewership had increased rapidly as it aimed to provide balanced coverage of the events in the war torn region.
According to the channel head veteran journalist M.A. Kazmi, Youtube sent no warning message that it intended to terminate the channel. The Delhi Union of Journalists feels that, given the timing of this termination, it is a political move, possibly undertaken under pressure from various quarters. The DUJ has appealed to YouTube to immediately restore the channel and let it resume its coverage.
The DUJ has, in its statement also pointed out that it takes years of persistent coverage for a small channel to establish a viewership and reputation. Such efforts must not be destroyed at one fell stroke. YouTube needs to be transparent in all such matters and make public the full reasons for its action. Arbitrarily closing down a channel is a blow to both democracy and free speech.
The statement by DUJ has been issued by Sujata Madhok, president, SK PAnde, vice president, and AM Jigneesh, general secretary.