Facebook has taken down a video honouring the winners of the International Press Freedom Awards (IPFA) referring to a copyright match to a 13-second clip owned by a Cantonese-language cable news channel based in Hongkong.
“It is beyond ironic that a platform which trumpets its commitment to freedom of speech should block a video celebrating journalists who risk their lives and liberty defending it,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. “Facebook must restore the video immediately and provide a clear and timely explanation of why it was censored in the first place.”
CPJ’s was streaming its annual awards ceremony on social media and less than an hour after the stream ended, Facebook notified CPJ that the video had been withheld worldwide because of a copyright match to a 13-second clip owned by i-Cable News. CPJ emailed the company requesting details but received no immediate reply.
The clip, featuring Jimmy Lai taking a bite from an apple, was taken from an advertisement for the now-shuttered Apple Daily dating from the 1990s when he founded the newspaper that was a freedom symbol I Hongkong. Lai is presently imprisoned by Chinese authorities. He was honoured during the CPJ award ceremony.
CPJ says it’s not clear if Facebook applied the action automatically, or whether i-Cable News complained in an attempt to suppress the video.
“The news group, i-Cable, signed an agreement in 2018 with China Mobile Limited, a state-owned telecommunication company, allowing China Mobile to use its content for the next 20 years”, CPJ said.