Radio Sandwell Local News

Youtube bosses quizzed as hate-preaching videos published

2013-03-01 00:10:13

MP'S have lashed out at YouTube bosses after it emerged the hate-filled teachings of a preacher who inspired three Birmingham men convicted of planning a major terror attack are still available online.

But quizzed by Midland MPs in the House of Commons, a YouTube executive warned it was impossible to prevent the films being distributed.

Sarah Hunter, head of UK public policy for YouTube owner Google, was being quizzed by the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which includes Birmingham MP Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) and Black Country MP David Winnick (Lab Walsall South).

It followed the conviction of three city men who were found guilty of planning a massive suicide bombing campaign that would have caused more deaths than the July 7 London bombings. The have been told they will face life in prison when they are sentenced in April or May.

Irfan Naseer, 31, from Sparkhill, Irfan Khalid, 27, from Sparkbrook, and Ashik Ali, 27, of Balsall Heath, were found guilty of planning the UK attacks after a 14-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

The trial was told that Irfan Khalid was recorded telling the other men to listen to the preachings of Anwar al-Awlaki, adding: "Trust me if you listen to it, it will soothe your heart."

Mr Winnick said: "It's not simply the rantings of the person mentioned, the cleric mentioned, but other incitement to hate crimes, certainly against Muslims, anti-Semitism and the rest - you say matters are flagged up when complaints are made, my question is before complaints are made what sort of controls is there to try to ensure hate crimes, incitement against people because of their racial origin or religion or sexuality, doesn't go on?"

Ms Hunter said: "It is worth remembering the scale of content on YouTube. There's 72 hours of content uploaded onto YouTube every minute of the day. So it's just physically not possible to us to look at every video that gets uploaded. We rely on our users - when they tell us there's content that breaks the guidelines, that's when our team kicks in, reviews it and removes it."

Ms Hunter said that objectionable content could be removed within an hour.

Mr McCabe also challenged the policy, asking: "It does seem to me that they're able to do it with enormous reach because of the service you provide, and if that results in a youngster deciding to take his own life or in some other tragedy... surely you've got to go back and examine what you do."

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