EU proposed AI guidelines could threaten the documentation of war crime evidence in Syria

Since the beginning of the war in Syria, media outlets have been contributing to the documentation of the war and providing video evidence to the global community about the violence against Syrian civilians. However, media outlets like Orient News, BellingcatMiddle East Eye, and Syrian Archive had their videos suspended on YouTube. Despite providing context and captions to such videos, they were perceived as inappropriate to YouTube users and taken down by artificial intelligence (AI) technology for having ‘graphic or extremist content’ which are deployed to clamp down on ISIS and groups alike on social media channels. The latest video that was removed from YouTube was published by Orient News to show injured civilians in an explosion at a hospital. Now the situation of these media outlets could be aggravated by the EU proposed Artificial Intelligence Guidelines prepared by the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG) which was criticised for lacking adequate safeguards to fundamental human rights. As ARTICLE 19 noted, the guidelines refer to vaguely defined ethics, ‘goodwill’, and ‘trustworthy AI’ which provide nonspecific interpretations and could be used to stifle freedom of expression among other rights.