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Covid UK: TalkRadio is urgently looking for answers from Google after its YouTube channel was closed


Google shut down TalkRadio's YouTube channel after alleging the station "violated" the site's "community guidelines" by criticizing coronavirus bans.

News UK, which owns the radio station, is now urgently seeking a full explanation from the tech giant about the nature of the breach that resulted in the account being removed from its platform.

In what appears to be an extraordinary clampdown, Google shut down the station's YouTube channel around 1 a.m., reportedly for violating "Community Guidelines" Guido Fawkes.

Google did not explain why the TalkRadio account was deleted and did not respond to requests for comments at the time of publication.

The move has sparked a freedom of speech led by Prime Minister Michael Gove and actor Laurence Fox as civil rights groups compared Google's actions to Chinese censorship.

TalkRadio host Julia Hartley-Brewer today denied that the station violated YouTube's Community Guidelines and tweeted: “We are only questioning the evidence that bans are an appropriate response to the Covid virus. It's called free speech. & # 39;

During the pandemic, the station interviewed lockdown skeptics who doubt that massive restrictions on public life by Western governments can suppress the disease.

Dissenting experts who have questioned lockdown policy included Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta, who co-authored the Great Barrington Declaration against Lockdown, and Irish engineer Ivor Cummins.

Some of the station's moderators, including Ms. Hartley-Brewer, Mike Graham and Dan Wootton, criticized government measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus as excessive or targeted.

YouTube closed the TalkRadio channel after the broadcaster criticized locks

Mike Graham

Julia Hartley-Brewer

TalkRadio presenters Mike Graham (left) and Julia Hartley-Brewer (right) have criticized the government's use of bans during the pandemic

TalkRadio host Hartley-Brewer denied today that the station had disregarded YouTube's community guidelines. & # 39; We are only questioning the evidence that lockdowns are an appropriate response to the Covid virus. It's called free speech, ”she tweeted

TalkRadio host Hartley-Brewer denied today that the station had disregarded YouTube's community guidelines. & # 39; We are only questioning the evidence that lockdowns are an appropriate response to the Covid virus. It's called free speech, ”she tweeted

Lockdown skeptic Peter Hitchens said: "Are we no longer free if something like this can happen?"

Lockdown skeptic Peter Hitchens said: "Are we no longer free if something like this can happen?"

Mr Graham invited Mail columnist Peter Hitchens to his Independent Republic Show every Monday on Sunday for nearly a year to discuss the government's handling of the crisis.

The radio station used YouTube to stream its live video content and archive old shows, and garnered tens of millions of views and 250,000 subscribers as its popularity spiked last year.

A spokesperson for TalkRadio told MailOnline: & # 39; We are urgently awaiting a detailed response from Google / YouTube on the nature of the breach that resulted in our channel being removed from its platform.

& # 39; TalkRadio is an Ofcom licensed and regulated broadcaster and has solid editorial controls to level the debate.

TalkRadio: Its Owner, Host, and Controversy

TalkRadio is owned by News UK and is the sister broadcaster of the national radio stations TalkSport and Times Radio.

According to the latest figures from market research company Rajar, it has around 424,000 listeners.

Current presenters include Mike Graham, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Dan Wootton and Mark Dolan.

TalkRadio has been controversial since its relaunch in 2016.

Presenter James Whale was suspended during an interview in July 2018 with an alleged sexual assault victim who said the station was "completely insensitive".

He was suspended for a week and his show returned soon after. He apologized to the alleged victim.

Ofcom broadcaster ruled in 2019 that two episodes of ex-MP George Galloway's broadcast on Labor anti-Semitism and the Salisbury poisoning violated the rules of impartiality.

Galloway was fired from the station in June 2019 for praising Liverpool FC for winning the 2019 UEFA Champions League final instead of Tottenham Hotspur, a team with strong ties to the Jewish community.

Last September, Mark Dolan cut open a face mask claiming it had no significant impact on the spread of the coronavirus.

His action sparked a protest by Jamie East, while Piers Morgan described Dolan's behavior as "ruthless and stupid".

"We regularly consult government data and have controls in place, use verifiable sources, and allow careful selection of voices and opinions."

Ofcom, the broadcaster that regulates TalkRadio, said: & # 39; This was a decision for YouTube.

& # 39; Like other UK broadcasters, TalkRadio's radio station falls under our broadcast code. When we rate programs according to our rules, we consider a broadcaster's right to freedom of expression and the right of listeners to receive information and ideas. & # 39;

YouTube has implemented a "COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy" which allows it to "ban content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts information provided by the local health authority or the World Health Organization (WHO) medical information about COVID-19" .

Examples of content that is banned from YouTube include "Denial of the Existence of COVID-19", "Claims that people did not die from COVID-19", and "Videos claiming that social distancing and self-isolation are spreading of COVID-19 not effectively reducing. " the virus & # 39 ;.

It warns YouTube users that any content that violates the policy will be removed and gives them a warning without penalty if it is a first-time violation.

Google has a three-strike policy that allows channels that violate Community Guidelines three times in 90 days to be permanently banned.

The tech giant previously banned conspiracy theorist David Icke and suspended the One America News Network for violating its Covid rules.

Ofcom is also committed to addressing coronavirus misinformation that could cause serious harm, despite no TalkRadio content about the disease being investigated by the guard dog.

Michael Gove broke the "Big Tech-Censorship" today and told Ms. Hartley-Brewer on TalkRadio that Lockdown critics "should be heard".

"I do not believe in censorship and we have a free and fair press and we have respected commentators and interviewers who criticize the government's position," said the cabinet minister.

"I disagree with them, but I think it is important that their voices are heard and that there is a debate."

Ms. Hartley-Brewer later tweeted that no one on the station "has ever put a life at risk or worked against the NHS," adding, "Freedom of speech, debate and questioning of policies that destroy lives, livelihoods and freedoms are a good thing." . "

Actor Laurence Fox, who has also criticized shutdowns, warned "This is just the beginning" – in a suggestion that more online anti-lockdown rhetoric could be removed.

Toby Young, director general of the Free Speech Union, described Google's move as an "attack on freedom of the press".

Civil liberties group, Big Brother Watch, said the removal of the channel was "a bold censorship move that would make China proud".

Director Silkie Carlo told MailOnline: & # 39; YouTube's termination of TalkRadio is proof that big tech censorship has gotten out of hand when needed.

“This chilling attack on a broadcaster is what you see in China. It is no accident that TalkRadio is one of the loudest critics of the government's mismanagement of the pandemic, and that the government is pressuring big tech companies to increase censorship under the online damage guidelines.

TalkRadio host Dan Wootton also criticized the use of shutdowns to fight Covid

TalkRadio host Dan Wootton also criticized the use of shutdowns to fight Covid

Dissenting experts who have spoken on TalkRadio include Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta, who authored Great Barrington's anti-lockdown statement

Dissenting experts who have spoken on TalkRadio include Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta, who authored Great Barrington's anti-lockdown statement

Actor Laurence Fox tweeted today: "This is just the beginning"

Actor Laurence Fox tweeted today: "This is just the beginning"

Triggernometry YouTube channel host Konstantin Kisin said, "Today is the day when we can all be 100% sure that free speech is over."

Triggernometry YouTube channel host Konstantin Kisin said, "Today is the day when we can all be 100% sure that free speech is over."

"This attack on freedom of expression must be fought and repealed."

The host of the triggerometry YouTube channel, Konstantin Kisin, said: "Today is the day when we can all be 100% sure that the freedom of speech is over."

As Mr Gove admitted today, there was "no certainty" that the brutal pressures Boris Johnson put on England last night will be eased, as hoped, in late February.

The Prime Minister has set himself the goal of giving more than 13 million vulnerable people first doses of vaccine over the next seven weeks, although doubts have already been expressed as to whether this is possible.

But Mr Gove warned that even in the best case scenario, not all of the curbs will go away as he long-term prepared the weary public for the rapidly spreading new variant of the coronavirus.

Under the new guidance, elementary and secondary schools will be closed, with only the vulnerable and the descendants of the most important workers being admitted.

Kindergartens can stay open, but university students are encouraged to stay at home and study remotely – while GCSE and A-level exams do not run as planned.

Non-essential retail stores, all hospitality, gyms and swimming pools must shut down – with Rishi Sunak slating another support package today amid growing fears about the economic impact.

Cafes, bars and restaurants are allowed to serve take-away – but due to the draconian measures last spring, they are not allowed to serve alcohol.

Endangered persons are asked to shield if possible.

The public is only allowed to leave the house for one of five reasons: go to work if necessary, shop necessities, play sports – be with someone from another household, look after someone or seek medical help, or flee threats such as domestic threats Violence.

The common worship service can be continued with social distancing.

Those who break the rules can expect £ 200 for the first offense, which doubles to a maximum of £ 6,400 for further offenses.

YouTube & # 39; COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy & # 39;

YouTube implemented a "COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy" last year to remove content that "poses a serious risk of tremendous harm".

YouTube implemented a "COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy" last year to remove content that "poses a serious risk of tremendous harm".

YouTube implemented a "COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy" last year to remove content that "poses a serious risk of tremendous harm".

The Community Guidelines webpage states that users cannot upload content that contains treatment, prevention, diagnosis, or transmission errors.

A YouTube channel will be terminated if three Community Guidelines strikes are recorded within 90 days or if it is determined to be solely devoted to violating our guidelines. When a channel is terminated, all of its videos are removed.

Treatment misinformation

YouTube counts this as content that "discourages someone from seeking medical treatment by promoting the use of cures or remedies to treat COVID-19".

Examples include:

  • Content that encourages the use of home remedies instead of medical treatment, such as: B. consult a doctor or go to the hospital;
  • Content that encourages the use of prayer or ritual in lieu of medical treatment;
  • Content Claiming There Is A Guaranteed Cure For COVID-19;
  • Claims of COVID-19 vaccinations contradicting expert consensus from local health authorities or the WHO;
  • Content claiming that currently available drugs are preventing you from getting the coronavirus;
  • Other content that prevents people from consulting a doctor or seeking medical advice.

Prevention of misinformation

According to YouTube, users cannot upload content that "promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or the WHO".

This could include:

  • Claims There Is A Guaranteed Prevention Method For COVID-19;
  • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will result in death, infertility, or contraction of other infectious diseases;
  • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine contains substances that are not on the vaccine ingredients list, such as: B. fetal tissue;
  • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine contains substances or devices designed to track or identify those who received it;
  • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine alters a person's genetic makeup;
  • Claims Any Vaccine Will Cause Contraction Of COVID-19;
  • Claims that a certain population (by everyone but a government) will be required to participate in vaccine trials or to receive the vaccine first.

Diagnostic misinformation

YouTube claims this includes content that "promotes diagnostic methods that contradict local health authorities or the WHO".

Misinformation about transmission

Google, owned by YouTube, states that content that "promotes broadcast information contrary to local health authorities or the WHO" cannot be uploaded either.

It lists as examples:

  • Content claiming that COVID-19 is not caused by viral infection;
  • Content that claims COVID-19 is not contagious.
  • Content that claims that COVID-19 cannot spread in certain climates or regions;
  • Content that claims that a group or individual has immunity to the virus or is unable to transmit the virus;
  • Content that denies the effectiveness of local health authorities or WHO guidelines on physical distancing or self-isolation measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Examples of prohibited content

YouTube would prohibit videos that contain the following information:

  • Denial of Existence of COVID-19 Claims That People Did Not Die from COVID-19;
  • Claims Any Vaccine Is A Guaranteed COVID-19 Prevention Method;
  • Claims that a specific treatment or drug is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19;
  • Claims that certain individuals have immunity to COVID-19 because of their race or nationality;
  • Encouragement to take home remedies with you rather than seek medical treatment for illness;
  • Discouraging people from seeing a doctor when they are sick;
  • Content claiming that holding your breath can be used as a diagnostic test for COVID-19;
  • Videos claiming you won't get the coronavirus if you avoid Asian food.
  • Videos claiming that setting off fireworks can purify the air of the virus and prevent the virus from spreading;
  • Claims COVID-19 Is Caused By Radiation From 5G Networks Videos Claiming COVID-19 Test Is The Cause Of The Virus;
  • Claims that countries with hot climates will not see the virus spread;
  • Videos claiming social distancing and self-isolation are not effective in reducing the spread of the virus;
  • Claims the COVID-19 vaccine will kill people who receive it;
  • Claims COVID-19 Vaccine Is Used As A Population Reduction Tool;
  • Videos Claiming the COVID-19 Vaccine Contains Fetal Tissue Claims that the flu vaccine is causing contraction of COVID-19;
  • Claims the COVID-19 vaccine causes contraction of other infectious diseases or makes people more prone to contraction of other infectious diseases;
  • Claims the COVID-19 vaccine will contain a microchip or tracking device.

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