RIGGED: Google bans all ads on Ireland abortion referendum
10 May 2018
A joint statement from the No campaign
"Clearly there is fear in establishment Ireland that this referendum will be defeated."
Google has suspended all online adverts relating to Ireland's referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment and introducing abortion.
"Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment," a Google spokesperson said.
This unprecedented move applies to adverts on YouTube, and follows the decision by Facebook to ban foreign-funded adverts in the campaign.
Scandalous attempt to rig the referendum
In a joint statement from Save The 8th, Pro Life Campaign and The Iona Institute, the NO side said: "This decision by Google is not about "concerns about the integrity of elections."
It is about concerns that the "No" side might win.
"This campaign has been marked by attacks on every form of legitimate campaigning the NO side has taken part in, and a complete absence of scrutiny for the YES side," the statement continued. "Despite all of that, the polls have narrowed, and clearly there is fear in establishment Ireland that this referendum will be defeated. That explains the massive pressure exerted on Google, Facebook, and other platforms to deny advertising space to the NO campaign.
It is scandalous, and it is an attempt to rig the referendum."
Clearly favours repeal side
As the Irish Times explains, this could have major implications for the No side, "which had planned an intensification of an already heavy online advertising campaign in the closing weeks of the campaign before polling day on May 25th."
Even the Irish Times, which generally has a pro-abortion slant, seems to view the development with suspicion. "If you wanted further evidence of whom the Google move favours, look no further than the reaction of Yes campaigners and supporters, who wholeheartedly welcomed and applauded the decision.
The reasons for the decision, however, remain a mystery. Google declined to supply any rationale, or to answer a series of detailed questions from The Irish Times."
Fearing blame in the case of defeat
Anonymous sources told the newspaper that they "believe that Google and Facebook became fearful in the past week that if the referendum was defeated, they would be the subject of an avalanche of blame and further scrutiny of their role in election campaigns."
Ailbhe Smyth, the co-director of the main campaign for repealing the Eighth and legalizing abortion, praised the decision by Google, saying that it "creates a level playing field between all sides, specifically in relation to YouTube and Google searches." However, as the Retain side has pointed out, with the media and political establishment campaigning for repeal, "online was the only platform available to the NO campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side."
Key role of Church
John Deighan, CEO of SPUC Scotland, said that this act of suppression by Google cannot be ignored, and the Church in particular, which has a key role to stand for freedom and strengthen civic society, should respond.
"In a society where political and media elites have routinely suppressed pro-life news whilst making every effort to advance libertarian pro-abortion views, the internet has at least provided a forum where the small voice in favour of the right to life for all has been able to make it self heard," he said. "In so doing it has been effective such that as the message has spread the polls have shown a steady progress in the pro-life view ahead of the referendum. When every main political party, every newspaper, radio and television station in Ireland has been on the pro-abortion side, the latest move represents a desperate measure to suppress the voice of justice that would protect the unborn, on which the Church cannot remain silent."
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