MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Sky News Australia said on Sunday it has been temporarily suspended by the video-sharing site YouTube following the platform’s review of content for compliance with its COVID-19 policies.
YouTube would not say what videos from Sky it removed, but the platform does not allow content medical misinformation about COVID-19 “that poses a serious risk of egregious harm in contradiction with local and global health authorities’ guidance about COVID-19 treatment, prevention, transmission, and social distancing.”
“Sky News Australia acknowledges YouTube’s right to enforce its policies and looks forward to continuing to publish its popular news and analysis content to its subscribers shortly,” Sky News said in a statement on its website about the one-week suspension.
The 24-hour cable and television channel, which claims to have 1.85 million YouTube subscribers, is operated by Australian News Channel Pty Ltd and is a subsidiary of News Corp Australia.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, confirmed the suspension.
“We apply our policies equally for everyone and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel,” a YouTube spokesperson said.
Australian media reported that the one-week suspension was issued on Thursday and came after a review of Sky News Australia’s content that allegedly denied the existence of COVID-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat the coronavirus, without providing countervailing context.
The action follows strong criticism of veteran broadcaster Alan Jones’ ongoing COVID-19 commentary on Sky News, on which he is a presenter. Jones has an anti-lockdown and anti-mask stance, which he has regularly discussed on air and in newspapers. However, it is unknown whether his segments were the cause of, or contributed to, the suspension.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)