Front page as of April 2008.
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LiveLeak is a video sharing website that lets users post and share videos. Liveleak places emphasis on current events, politics and reality-based footage such as war scenes from various parts of the world.
The site went live on October 31, 2006. Founded by the team responsible for the Ogrish.com shock site, it aims to take reality footage, politics, and world events and combine them with the power of citizen journalism.
The site came to prominence in 2007 following the unauthorized filming and leaking of the execution of Saddam Hussein, and was referred to by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Liveleak and Fitna
Liveleak was in the spotlight again in March 2008 when it hosted the anti-Qur'an film Fitna made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Liveleak holds to being strictly non-biased in its approach to members and their content, believing in freedom of speech within the site rules regardless of how certain content might offend them personally. "Fitna" was taken down after threats were made against Liveleak staff, but (as of 2008) is back online after Liveleak reportedly improved security. The video was once again removed on April 1, this time it was removed by the user citing that it was taken down due to copyright wrangles and a new version will be uploaded "soon".
Since May 14, 2007, The United States Department of Defense has restricted access to websites such as YouTube and MySpace in order to prevent violations of Operations Security. One can easily watch war footage from Iraq and Afghanistan, which many show videos from soldiers of the United States and other countries.
On July 30, 2007, the BBC programme Panorama broadcast a show about how young people were getting physically assaulted and knocked unconscious. When Panorama queried the "extremely violent videos" that had been posted to LiveLeak's website, the co-founder, Hayden Hewitt, refused to have them taken down and stated "Look all this is happening, this is real life, this is going on, we're going to show it."
Liveleak states there are relatively few such videos on the site and should the uploaders be found to have been involved in the filming and / or involved in a violent attack they (Liveleak) will aid the police with any prosecutions.
Racial slurs and racism on LiveLeak
Hayden Hewitt has made three specific points regarding racism on Liveleak: "1) We don't particularly care whether you are racist or not. As an organisation we take no stance on your ideologies or beliefs." "2) We don't particularly care if people are offended by what they might see on LiveLeak. It's not our job, or intention, to wrap any religion or race in cotton wool on here." and this seemingly contradictory third point, "3) We will not tolerate certain racial slurs."
When pressed regarding point three, Hewitt refused to state exactly which kind of racial slurs or racism were allowed, saying: "Why make it clear? Better people err on the side of caution [in my opinion]." Further into the thread Hewitt points out censorship is based on protecting the site rather than people's feelings.
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