“Overjoyed!”: Colombian Social Media star wins censorship case
Colombian Constitutional Court overturns censorship ruling against Kika Nieto vacating judgment and dismissing the lawsuit
Court fails to address the wider issue and affirm free speech
COLOMBIA (23 November 2021) – The video in which Colombian YouTuber Kika Nieto shared her beliefs about marriage, should not have been censored – so ruled the Colombian Supreme Court. After an activist complained about her statement, a national court had denied Nieto’s right to freedom of expression by ordering her to remove the 2018 video. The Constitutional Court has now overturned that decision and dismissed the lawsuit. Neito has thus been cleared of any wrongdoing. Despite the ruling in her favor, Nieto’s legal team expressed disappointment that the Court refused to address the underlying issue of her freedom of expression.
“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. 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,” said Santiago Guevara, counsel for Nueva Democracia, an NGO who with the support of ADF International represented Nieto.
“By speaking out I hope to inspire more tolerance of different opinions,” said Kika Nieto in the run-up to the decision.
Censored for sharing Christian convictions
Answering a follower’s question in a 2018 YouTube video, Nieto shared her beliefs about marriage as between a man and a woman with her millions of followers. She said: “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.”*
Tomás Henríquez, Director of Advocacy in Latin America and the Caribbean for ADF International, a human rights organization supporting Kika Nieto’s case stated: “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.”
Supreme Court affirmed Nieto’s free speech in previous ruling
In a previous case that arose from the same video, the Constitutional Court had ruled that Nieto’s speech on marriage is constitutionally protected. However, another activist took Nieto to court, complaining that this same comment about marriage was offensive and discriminatory. A lower court considered the video to contain “hate speech” and ordered its removal from YouTube. The Constitutional Court has now overturned that decision.
With the support of ADF International, the Colombian NGO Nueva Democracia — a civil society platform advocating for freedom of expression and other fundamental rights — represented Nieto in this case.
*translated from Spanish