Jihadi videos on YouTube anger Swiss attorney-general

Naim Cherni, right, maintained his innocence before the media in December Keystone

Documentary or propaganda? The Swiss attorney-general’s office says it is “irritated” over YouTube’s reluctance to take down two videos about jihadists in Syria produced by a member of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland.

This content was published on January 19, 2016 - 12:40

The attorney-general opened criminal proceedings against the group's leader, Naim Cherni, in December 2015 and asked Google, which owns YouTube, to remove the videos from the internet. YouTube evaluated both videos after the attorney-general intervened.

According to YouTube’s guidelines, terrorist propaganda is forbidden but documentary coverage of issues is not.

The attorney-general’s office is not happy about this decision.

“When a provider, after the opening of criminal proceedings investigating support of a terrorist organisation, says there’s no need to act, that’s more than a little irritating,” said André Marty, head of information for the attorney-general’s office, in an interview on Tuesday with Swiss public radio, SRF.

The attorney-general has accused the man of producing propaganda with a video recording his trip through embattled Syrian territory and an interview with a Jihadist leaderExternal link. The Bern resident, who has a German passport, travelled through Syria in autumn 2015, and claimed in a press conference on December 23 that his goal was to document “why the rebels, out of an Islamic perspective and deep belief in Islam, are fighting against the Islamic State.”

The attorney-general’s office, however, believes that in this case, the interests of law enforcement authorities outweigh freedom of speech, and the videos should not be available online.

“We expect that providers – in this case Google/YouTube – make an active contribution in the fight against violent jihadism,” Marty said.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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