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On July 17, 2023, YouTube blocked 18 channels associated with Yemen's Iran-backed Ansar Allah Movement (the Houthis). Hours later, the Houthis' media center responded, condemning the removal as unfair and akin to terrorism.
Denouncing the blocking of the YouTube channels, the Houthi "Yemeni Military Media" outlet noted that the move targeted both official and unofficially affiliated channels. The outlet wrote: "The Yemeni Military Media condemns the move by YouTube's administration to close 18 channels of Ansar Allah's squad, technical and documentary production units, and Rawda Al-Shuhada ['Garden of Martyrs']."
It continued, reiterating false but long repeated insinuations that the U.S. is directly involved in the ongoing war in Yemen: "The Military Media considers this move arbitrary and intellectual terrorism that again confirms the intentions of the U.S.-Saudi-UAE Alliance of Aggression against Yemen, by harnessing their media assets to serve their colonial project. "
Accusations Of Hypocrisy, Double Standards
The statement also accused the West of hypocrisy for violating its principles of freedom of speech and expression: "[The removal] also exposes the falsity of the slogans of freedom of opinion and expression raised by Western countries."
Continuing the theme, it accused U.S. social media platforms of holding deliberate double standards aimed at undermining the militant group and its government: "Yemeni Military Media maintains that the recent closure of its platforms on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter confirms the policy of double standards pursued by these companies in support of the U.S.-Saudi-UAE coalition of aggression against Yemen politically, economically, socially and in the media."
These efforts, it claimed, aim "to undermine the will of the Yemeni people who oppose the Zionist-American project in the region," repeating some the group's established antisemitic views. It also asserted that the group's social media pages were taken down without cause, denying any violations of community standards or user agreements. It sad: "These national pages, accounts and channels have already been subjected to continuous closure, ban and harassment without any justification."
Iran's state-run, English-language Press TV also picked up the story, repeating the same accusations featured in the Houthi statement.
Distribution And Dissemination
In the same statement, the Houthi-run media center boasted that the shuttered channels enjoyed high viewership despite the controversial nature of its content: "The number of subscribers of these channels reached over 500,000, containing over 7,000 videos with more than 90 million views."
MEMRI JTTM was able to locate an archived version of the main channel from October 26, 2022. The archive indicates that at the time, the channel had about 119,000 subscribers, with an irregular posting pattern based on the then-most-recent content on the channel, with a nine-day pause between uploads. The most popular video garnered more than 108,000 views.
Government and tech companies have previously removed media and accounts operated by Shi'ite militant groups. In June 2021, the U.S. Justice Department seized the domain of the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television channel, along with several other sites, including Press TV, Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam, and websites affiliated with Iraq's Hizbullah Brigades.
The original domain operated by Al-Masirah remains offline, though active at a different address. Twitter removed accounts associated with Al-Masirah in October 2020. However, a channel operating under the same name, which links to Houthi-run Telegram channels remains active.
 July 17, 2023.
 Presstv.ir, July 18, 2023.
 July 18, 2023.
 July 18, 2023.
 July 18, 2023.
 Reuters.com/article/us-yemen-twitter-houthis/twitter-suspends-account-of-al-masirah-tv-run-by-yemens-houthis-idUSKBN26T20P, October 8, 2020.
 Twitter, July 18, 2023.
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