YouTube Terminates TalkRADIO’s Channel Following Lockdown Criticism

Google-owned YouTube in the early hours of this morning removed the TalkRADIO channel from its platform. YouTube had been where TalkRADIO streamed its live video content and kept an archive of old shows. The channel had accumulated tens of millions of views and 250,000 subscribers. YouTube has simply said the account was “terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.”

The fact the termination came shortly after the UK Government announced a third lockdown is raising eyebrows. TalkRADIO has been exceptionally critical of lockdown policy.

YouTube’s Covid-19 guidelines instituted in May 2020 states that “YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.” This includes bans on:

  • Content that discourages people from consulting a medical professional or seeking medical advice.
  • Content that promotes diagnostic methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO.
  • Content that disputes the efficacy of local health authorities’ or WHO’s guidance on physical distancing or self-isolation measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

If a channel violates policies such as this three times, it will be terminated. This appears to be what happened last night.

UPDATE:  To be clear, Guido is not disputing that YouTube are within their rights, it is their property. Just questioning the wisdom given the platform’s dominance of the video space in the public square.

UPDATE: TalkRADIO has released a statement on the matter:

“talkRADIO YouTube has removed talkRADIO’s channel from its platform. talkRADIO broadcasts specific programmes and a live stream from its studio on its YouTube channel. talkRADIO also broadcasts on DAB and is Ofcom regulated.

A spokesperson for talkRADIO said: “We urgently await a detailed response from Google/YouTube about the nature of the breach that has led to our channel being removed from its platform.

“talkRADIO is an Ofcom licensed and regulated broadcaster and has robust editorial controls in place, taking care to balance debate. We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place, use verifiable sources and give space to a careful selection of voices and opinions.”

UPDATE: TalkRADIO has released a second statement:

“talkRADIO has not yet received any explanation about what aspect of the guidelines it is alleged that we have breached. The channel is still removed by Google / YouTube. A spokesman for talkRADIO said:

“YouTube is making decisions about which opinions the public are allowed to hear, even when they are sourced to responsible and regulated news providers.

“This sets a dangerous precedent and is censorship of free speech and legitimate national debate.”

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