Switzerland's anti-immigrant party has thrown allegations of censorship at Google after it had a video blocked that is said to be part of the party's campaign for the national election in two weeks, AFP reported on Thursday, October 10th.
The right-wing SVP’s Zurich chapter produced a controversial video, which demonised Eritrean asylum seekers, and then gave Google a deadline of next Sunday to put it back online, adding that they condemn the company for intervening in Swiss politics.
Google spokeswoman Violeta Torres stated in an email, “We can confirm that this video was blocked by YouTube in Switzerland for reasons of violating YouTube's hate speech policy.”
SVP-Zurich spokesman Martin Suter condemned the Google decision and said that the party’s supporters “do not understand why Google, an American corporation, is intervening in Swiss politics and is censoring a commercial."
Switzerland has long been considered a shelter for those fleeing Eritrea, at a time when the Swiss believe that Eritreans living in Switzerland are a drain on national resources.
The rules concerning the qualification of refugee upon arrival in Switzerland has been tightened after a 2017 court ruling that cited “not all Eritreans seeking asylum in Switzerland faced an imminent threat in their home country.”
No exact information was given to highlight the party’s reaction as to what would happen if the company failed to comply, but Suter said, "I assume that Google has made a mistake and that they blocked the video prematurely."
The Swiss national elections are scheduled to take place on October 20th. The right-wing SVP holds the most seats in parliament, but recent polls indicate left-of-centre parties could win at the polls.
Swiss voters will take to the polls to elect 245 members of the Federal Assembly, including around 200 for the lower house National Council and 45 of the 46 members of the upper house Council of States, a local media source reported.