Washington, DC Newsroom, October 25, 2022 / 6:00 p.m. (CNA).
For the second time in less than two years, the subsidiary of EWTN in Poland had its YouTube channel suspended, reported Father Piotr Wiśniowski, general manager of EWTN Poland.
Without any warning or explanation, on October 22, YouTube shut down the Catholic programming channel, which offers a live broadcast of the Adoration Chapel of Niepokalanów Monastery in Teresin, Poland, founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Nearly one million viewers visit the channel every month for what is known as the world’s most popular televised Eucharistic Adoration.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the chapel was a lifeline for the faith of those who could not leave their homes to go to mass. Aside from the worship chapel, the channel’s content is reminiscent of EWTN’s English-language programming. There are Catholic news as well as 4,500 videos of devotional content, films, lectures and homilies.
For Wiśniowski, this decision smacks of censorship.
“I am disappointed by the policy of YouTube, which, after all, was born in a country for which freedom of expression and respect for dissenting opinions are a benchmark for the growth of prosperity and security of its citizens” , wrote the priest in a statement released to the media.
The first time this happened, on April 10, 2021, the channel was told it was suspended for “violating community guidelines.” The channel was restored after 24 hours and numerous complaints from loyal users.
After it happened again last Saturday, Wiśniowski and EWTN Poland staff appealed to relaunch the channel and were told about the confusing and conflicting reasons for the shutdown.
At one point, they were told the channel had been suspended due to a “community guidelines violation”; then that there was a “takeover [by a third party] a Google account that was sending SPAM”; then they were told there had been a “YouTube channel takeover”.
“Which rules of the YouTube community are violated, for example, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of Niepokalanów?” asked the priest.
“I ask all Catholic circles, especially media circles, to stand in solidarity with our television EWTN Poland, to support it spiritually and to express their dissatisfaction with the situation,” he wrote.
Three and a half days later, after many prayers and complaints from viewers to YouTube’s parent company, Google, the channel has been restored. Still, Wiśniowski was none the wiser for why the channel was shut down in the first place.
When asked if the company had provided an explanation, he told CNA: “No. Simply no. Never.”
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