The TalkRadio YouTube channel has now been reinstated after temporarily suspended for breaching community guidelines.
YouTube users who attempted to visit the channel on Tuesday were greeted with a message stating that the account had been ‘terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines’.
However, the channel is now back in use with a YouTube spokesperson telling Metro.co.uk: ‘TalkRadio’s YouTube channel was briefly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated.
‘We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including Covid-19 content that explicitly contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization.
‘We make exceptions for material posted with an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purpose, as was deemed in this case.’
The TalkRadio team responded to the reinstatement and said in their own statement: ‘TalkRadio has not yet received any explanation about what aspect of the guidelines that it is alleged that we have breached.
‘The channel is still removed by Google / YouTube.’
A spokesperson added: ‘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.’
They had earlier expressed their disappointment in the channel being removed, and said in another statement: ‘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.’
The Google-owned platform’s guidelines state that it does not allow ‘content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) medical information about Covid-19’.
TalkRadio, which is owned by News UK, used their channel to host clips from their programmes. Over the past few months, some of their guests have included those challenging the facts about the coronavirus pandemic, while presenters Julia Hartley-Brewer and Mike Graham have criticised the government’s handling of the crisis.
Defending the station, Hartley-Brewer tweeted: ‘We simply challenge the evidence that lockdowns are a proportionate response to the Covid virus. It’s called free speech.’
Ofcom has also addressed the YouTube termination and said in a statement: ‘This was a decision for YouTube. Like other UK stations, TalkRadio’s radio channel comes under our Broadcasting Code.
‘When we assess programmes under our rules, we take account of a broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression, and the right of listeners to receive information and ideas.’
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove appeared on Hartley-Brewer’s radio show earlier today and said critics deserved the right to freedom of speech.
‘I don’t believe in censorship, and we have a free and fair press, and we have commentators and interviewers of distinction who do criticise the Government’s position,’ he said.
‘I respectfully disagree with them but I think it’s important that their voices are heard and that debate takes place.’
Metro.co.uk has reached out to YouTube/Google for comment.
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