YouTube has reinstated TalkRadio’s channel, which was suspended over a potential violation of the tech giant’s ban on content that explicitly contradicts “expert consensus from local health authorities” about the CCP virus.
Early on Tuesday, links to the channel, which has around 250,000 subscribers, brought up messages saying the account had been terminated.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, did not provide any explanation at the time.
Later in the evening, a YouTube spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email: “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 reversal followed criticism from free speech advocates and outcry from the station and its presenters, who accused the tech giant of censorship.
Some TalkRadio presenters have been openly skeptical of the value of lockdown measures, and have questioned government virus-related policies and the rationale and interpretation of the data underpinning them.
The station, which is licensed by UK broadcast regulator Ofcom, has featured more questioning of the handling of the pandemic than many other broadcasters.
TalkRadio has included interviews with various well-known critics of lockdown measures, including with Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration.
According to Youtube, they have removed over 750,000 videos between February and November that violated their guidelines on COVID-19-related content.
They say that videos removed include content that disputes the existence or transmission of the CCP virus, as laid out by local health authorities and the WHO, and content that discourages people from seeking treatment or that promotes unproven treatment methods.
They also removed content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of WHO and local guidance on social distancing and self-isolation.
Just before Youtube reversed the termination of their account, a spokesperson 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.”
Free speech organisation Big Brother Watch described the removal of the entire channel as a “bold censorship move.”
“We’re meeting Google to ask why they buried the Great Barrington Declaration,” they wrote on Twitter. “We’ll be asking about this appalling censorship too.”