Stop Censoring Political Pop Music Videos

Censorsing M.I.A. by YouTube

Target: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Goal: Stop censoring political pop musician M.I.A and all other politically motivated music videos

YouTube, owned by Google, is the largest video-sharing platform on the Internet. Because it is part of a private company, it can choose to censor any videos uploaded by viewers at anytime. Allowing a private entity to censor individuals, especially artists, is a threat to our individual freedoms and must be stopped. YouTube has censored music videos by British-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam), most notably her 2010 music video “Born Free” which commented on the Sri Lankan genocide of Tamil males, and most recently with her 2014 music video “Double Bubble Trouble” which depicts a hyper-militarization of society including the 3-D printing of guns and the use of drones.

M.I.A’s video for “Double Bubble Trouble,” off her 2013 LP Matangi, debuted on the artist’s official YouTube channel, only to be blocked moments later while fans desperately tried to inform M.I.A via Twitter that the video had been censored. The music video opens up with narration about the recent technological developments in 3-D printing and its ability to fabricate weapons. The video goes on to comment on drones, poverty, gangs, drugs, and racial stereotypes. One of the most visually stunning parts of the video depicts M.I.A, with a caged gold grill in her mouth, standing in front of a wall that reads: “1984 is now,” a reference to the George Orwell book 1984, that is set in a war-torn state with governmental surveillance and totalitarian-like rule over the people.

By signing the petition below, you can help demand that YouTube no longer censor the artist M.I.A or any future music videos that contain important individual expressions. As a website that is supposed to foster community and, in particular, help develop young innovative minds that seek knowledge in videos, YouTube must promise that knowledge will never be censored and that our videos will truly stay public.


Dear Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube,

YouTube’s censorship policy on politically active music videos must be abolished in order to continue to foster an online community of individuals who desire the freedom to express themselves. As you know, musician M.I.A.’s music video for her song “Double Bubble Trouble” was briefly censored on May 19, 2014, even as fans desperately called for the video to be released.

Censoring videos can create panic for your site’s visitors and it promotes mistrust towards your company and Google Inc. more generally. Furthermore, it harms the democratic aspect of being able to make  and post videos in the first place.

Please support musicians and artists who choose to use your website as a way to express themselves. We ask that you no longer censor the musician M.I.A’s music videos, now or in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Moses Namkung via Flickr

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