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Condenser microphone in a radio studio. Photo credit: Jonathan Velasquez

One of the UK’s biggest radio stations banned by YouTube after lockdown criticism

On Tuesday, UK-based talkRADIO announced that YouTube had removed its channel from the Google-owned platform, warning that talkRADIO was deleted for a "violation of community guidelines". The station had challenged imposed lockdowns, and this could be the reason why the channel has been deleted.

Published: January 6, 2021, 10:21 am

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    While talkRADIO, owned by News UK, await YouTube’s “detailed response” regarding this ban, it has come to light that the outlet had not been not afraid to voice anti-lockdown skepticism. According to talkRADIO presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer, YouTube’s rules had not been violated. “We simply challenge the evidence that lockdowns are a proportionate response to the Covid virus. It’s called free speech,” she said.

    YouTube’s harsh response concerning any content that challenges the official narrative around the Covid pandemic and measures such as lockdowns, could be the reason the channel has been taken down. It is not yet clear if the station had received prior warnings and “strikes” from YouTube.

    Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said in an interview that big tech companies should not censor those who question the government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t believe in censorship,”  Gove told Hartley-Brewer. “It’s important their voices are heard.”

    The radio outlet is urgently awaiting an explanation from Google/YouTube on the reasons why the channel was deleted, and demanded a detailed response that would reveal the exact nature of the violation of the rules. But YouTube has more often than not removed channels, blocked videos and censored content without providing reasons, except for a brief and generic response to alleged violations.

    Broadcaster talkRADIO is licensed and regulated by UK’s Ofcom. “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,” the spokesperson highlighted.

    YouTube has not given any detailed explanation yet.

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