In an on-going legal battle between Prager University (commonly known as PragerU) and Google, the lawyer representing the university said that the tech giant was being unreasonable in its explanations and reasons to deny the university’s videos to some users of YouTube, a subsidiary of Google.
“To suggest that PragerU’s content is obscene, violent, hate speech is an absolute insult to the intelligence of the American public and people like yourself, who are willing to enter the important political dialogue,” said Peter Obstler, the lead attorney of PragerU.
This legal battle originally began in October 2017 when the Prager University filed a lawsuit against Google after more than 100 videos from the university were flagged as “dangerous” and were placed under the “restricted” mode. In March of 2018, the lawsuit was dismissed by the US District Judge Lucy Koh, a President Barack Obama appointee; the judge stated that the tech giant wasn’t bound to treat all its users alike.
The aforementioned legal battle took place in the Seattle-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. After it was dismissed, the PragerU took their case to the federal court of the US; the representing attorney expressed his confidence in the current legal proceedings and revealed that they “got a very fair hearing with three very able judges today.”
PragerU argues that the tech giant had placed their videos under restricted mode simply because they promoted conservative ideas and that their video content is neither vulgar nor obscene. The restricted videos cover topics such as the Ten Commandments, climate change, fake news, and free speech.
While supporters of PragerU believe that the tech giant was censoring conservative viewpoints, especially when the incident is compared with other examples and stories of biases YouTube’s biases, Google’s defenders are saying that 98% of the users who haven’t enabled restricted mode can still view all the videos uploaded by the university.
Moreover, it was also said that YouTube created the “restricted mode” for more mature content and not for obscene or vulgar content alone. However, PragerU says that 2% of viewers can amount to millions of people and that the university may be potentially losing a huge number of audience.
While PragerU is being supressed because some of their videos are in restricted mode, it is YouTube that is responsible for putting the media group in the restricted mode.
A former senator and governor of California, Pete Wilson has extended his support to the PragerU. Obstler said that this case is a matter of freedom of speech and that “civil discourse in an open way is the only thing that can keep our democracy going.”