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Netizens Pressure YouTube to Restore Kim Yu-na Video

Posted February. 09, 2010 09:00,   


A "video war" is being waged by Korean netizens with a few days left before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

A video clip suggesting bias against world figure skating champion Kim Yu-na of Korea, the favorite to win the gold medal in Vancouver, was suspiciously removed from the Web Friday. This prompted Korean netizens to band together and get the video restored yesterday.

A Korean Web user made a six-minute video clip of Kim’s performances and interviews with experts and posted it on YouTube in December last year. The clip questioned a technical specialist’s downgrades to Kim’s jumps that experts considered perfect.

The video grew famous after being mentioned by Chicago Tribune sports reporter Philip Hersh. In his column attached with the video clip Jan. 4, he said, “The technical panel gave a questionable downgrade to Kim and the same technical specialists will work for the Vancouver Olympic Games.”

Web attention on Hersh’s column has been explosive. The video has attracted 200,000 to 300,000 hits, and is considered evidence of a conspiracy against Kim.

The video`s removal Friday added to the conspiracy allegations. The Korean user uploaded a post, saying, “YouTube removed the video clip without informing me of the reason.”

The first cut of the video clip said, “This video is removed as K. Yamaguchi raised issue over copyright infringement.” One Korean netizen complained, saying, “K. Yamaguchi may refer to Kristi Yamaguchi (the Japanese-American gold medalist in women’s figure skating in the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics). What does it matter?”

Another said, “YouTube has offered doubtful reasons. Has the International Skating Union or Japanese netizens organized such a move?”

The Korean Web community has continuously uploaded the video every time it has been removed. Users are also watching the clip as much as possible under what they describe as a “rapid click war.”

They have followed the number of hits every hour and encouraged others to support the effort. With the new clip attracting more than 100,000 hits in two days, the original was restored around 1:30 a.m. yesterday.

Korean netizens welcomed the move, with one saying, “We won the war. YouTube might have nothing to say.”

Kim Yu-na finished second in the short program at the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo in December, as technical specialist Myriam Loriol-Oberwiler of Switzerland gave questionable downgrades to her jumps. She even gave a “wrong edge” to Kim at the third Grand Prix event of 2008.

Google Korea, in charge of operating YouTube, said yesterday, “After examination, we removed the video clip due to complaints over copyright infringement. But we restored the video clip as the person who initially posted it raised an objection. But we cannot tell who asked us to remove the video.”