YouTube has recently taken down the Emmanuel TV channel, operated by the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) founded by the late TB Joshua, citing violations of its hate speech guidelines. Following TB Joshua’s passing in June 2021, his wife, Evelyn Joshua, assumed leadership of SCOAN.
In a documentary by BBC Africa Eye earlier this month, former churchgoers alleged instances of rape, torture, and forced abortions committed by the late cleric. The documentary prompted a widespread social media debate with varied opinions.
A joint investigation by OpenDemocracy and BBC found “more than 50 videos amplifying abuse against Joshua’s accusers” on YouTube. Survivors claimed that these clips were strategically kept to intimidate and tarnish the reputation of ex-followers, discouraging them from sharing their experiences publicly.
After being notified of the issue, YouTube suspended the Emmanuel TV account on January 29, citing violations of hate speech policies. The flagged content included smear campaigns against women who spoke out about TB Joshua’s alleged sexual abuse, instances of medical misinformation, and footage showing individuals with mental health issues being restrained.
Emmanuel TV, known for its substantial viewership with over 500 thousand YouTube followers and hundreds of millions of views, has faced a second suspension in three years due to breaches of YouTube’s user guidelines. Additionally, on January 17, TheCable reported that MultiChoice had dropped Emmanuel TV’s satellite channel on DStv and GOtv.