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News September 28, 2020

CFE Releases Statement of Concern about Zoom and YouTube Shutting Down University Panel Discussion

In a statement released today, the Centre for Free Expression calls on Zoom, YouTube, and all other online technology providers to cease being censors of discussions being held by universities, schools and libraries. 

CFE urges “online technology providers to acknowledge civil liberties and human rights; to leave decisions about what content should be discussed in the hands of the universities, schools, and libraries that use their services; and to recognize that censoring events based on the identity and history of individuals runs the risk of impeding movements for social change at a time when society is calling out for transformation.”

Drafted by the Centre’s Working Group on Intellectual Freedom, the statement is a response to the actions of Zoom and YouTube in stopping a San Francisco State University academic panel discussion on September 23rd.

The reality for libraries, schools and university, the statement notes, is that the pandemic has meant they have had to place “control over the distribution of information in the hands of those who do not share the same interests in open dialogue about controversial ideas.”

“This poses a serious problem for the ability of universities, libraries, and schools to fulfill their public responsibilities when private platforms feel they have the authority to censor the work of these institutions,” said James L. Turk, Director of the Centre for Free Expression. 

“We hope that other organizations will join our call for online technology providers to cease such actions.”

For more information, please contact James L.Turk, CFE Director,, (613) 277-0488.