YouTube Axes TalkRadio Channel

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Coronavirus misinformation speculated as reason for YouTube removing Ofcom-regulated TalkRadio from its streaming platform

A row has erupted in the UK after a British national radio station, talkRADIO , was booted off the YouTube streaming platform.

The radio station confirmed that it had been removed from YouTube in a statement on Twitter, and that it was seeking a response from Google as to the reasoning.

“YouTube has removed talkRADIO’s channel from its platform,” it admitted, and there was disguising its frustration at YouTube’s decision.

YouTube removal

“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,” a talkRADIO spokesperson said in a statement.

“talkRADIO is an Ofcom licenced and regulated broadcaster and has robust editorial controls in place, take care to balance debate,” the spokesperson added.

Under Ofcom rules, all British broadcasters are required to ensure that news is reported accurately and impartially.

“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.”

YouTube has, at the time of writing, has yet to issue a statement as to why it has removed talkRADIO from its platform.

Indeed, talkRADIO is one of the UK’s main news and speech radio stations and regularly hosts government ministers, and has an estimated 400,000 listeners.

It utilises a digital radio and online broadcast, as well using YouTube to host a video feed of live broadcasts and an archive of past shows.

Censorship move?

But why was talkRADIO removed?

Well, speculation is that it was removed because some of its presenters have criticised the government decision to implement tough Coronavirus lockdowns.

Senior minister Michael Gove, speaking to talkRADIO on Tuesday, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the broadcaster should be free to question Covid policy without interference from large technology companies.

“I don’t believe in censorship,” Gove said. “I think it’s absolutely right that people should ask questions.”

YouTube had already banned earlier this year ‘medically unsubstantiated’ claims relating to Covid-19 on its platform, but in October it went one step further to ban misleading content relating to vaccines.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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