Colombian social media star wins case over YouTube video removal

Kika Nieto's video in which she said marriage should be between a man and a woman was removed from YouTube.(Photo: ADF International)

A Colombian YouTuber is celebrating after the courts this week threw out a lawsuit against her for speaking about her traditional marriage beliefs on the video-sharing platform.

The Colombian Constitutional Court said Kika Nieto should not have been censored over the video, which was posted to YouTube in 2018 and showed her answering a question from a viewer about her views on marriage. 

Translated from the original Spanish, she said at the time, "I really hope that everyone who is watching this video knows that not all people have the same opinion and that's okay.

"I think that God made us all and created man and created woman for man to be with woman and woman to be with man and that's it.

"Whatever we have done after that as man with man and woman with woman, I think it's not right. However, I do have friends who are gay, I have friends who are lesbian, I love them with all my heart.

"And if I know one thing and I am completely sure of it, it is that God is love. And he calls me to love people. Without judging them."

An LGBT activist claimed the video was offensive and discriminatory, and a lower court ruled that her comments amounted to "hate speech". The court also ordered that the video be removed from YouTube. 

Defending her video, Nieto previously said, "By speaking out I hope to inspire more tolerance of different opinions."

The Constitutional Court has now overturned the lower court's ruling and cleared Nieto of any wrongdoing.

She was supported in her case by Santiago Guevara, counsel for Nueva Democracia, and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International.

Guevara welcomed the verdict but said the Constitutional Court's ruling should have gone further in protecting free speech. 

"No one should be censored or fear criminal sanctions for expressing their beliefs. Together with Kika, we are overjoyed that the Court has overturned this censorship ruling. Kika stood strong throughout this ordeal to make the case for everyone's freedom to share their beliefs," he said.

"Although Kika is again free to share her convictions, it's disappointing that the Court decided this case on procedural grounds and failed to address the key issue and affirm freedom of speech for every Colombian.

"Everyone should be free to share their beliefs in public, and the courts should protect this fundamental freedom." 

Tomás Henríquez, Director of Advocacy in Latin America and the Caribbean for ADF International, said: "If we value a free society, protecting the right to speak freely is paramount. We welcome the court's decision to overturn Nieto's censorship ruling.

"Yet, we regret that it did not address the underlying issue of censorship and affirm everyone's right to speak freely. We must always choose debate over censorship. Ultimately, people and democracy suffer when voices are silenced."