YouTube suspends Sky News Australia over COVID-19 videos

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New York Post 01 August, 2021 - 12:51pm 44 views

By David Meyer

August 1, 2021 | 1:51pm | Updated August 1, 2021 | 2:01pm

Sky News Australia has been temporarily suspended by YouTube for videos that the Google-owned video service claims violated its COVID-19 policies.

The 24-hour cable channel owned by News Corp, which also owns The Post, saw its YouTube account go dark on Thursday after a review of the page’s content allegedly unveiled videos denying the existence of COVID-19 and encouraging people to use untested experimental drugs to treat the virus without context.

“Sky News Australia acknowledges YouTube’s right to enforce its policies and looks forward to continuing to publish its popular news and analysis content to its subscribers shortly,” Sky News said in a statement on its website.

A YouTube spokesperson said the clips were removed from the platform and the TV channel suspended “in accordance with … our long-standing strikes system.”

Digital Editor Jack Houghton defended the videos in a column on Sky News’ website.

“Among the videos deemed unpalatable for societal consumption were debates around whether masks were effective and whether lockdowns were justified when considering their adverse health outcomes,” Houghton wrote.

Other commentators vehemently disagreed, and their views were also published.”

Houghton claimed “most” of the removed content was from 2020, and that YouTube “is looking at the debates and discussions through the lens of contemporary health advice.”

In recent months, Facebook has blocked its users from sharing some Post articles, including a column that suggested the COVID-19 virus could have leaked from a virology lab in Wuhan.

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Read full article at New York Post

YouTube suspends Sky News Australia uploads over COVID-19 misinformation | Engadget

Engadget 01 August, 2021 - 04:38pm

The clips didn't provide "sufficient countervailing context" to indicate the claims were false, YouTube told The Guardian. YouTube warned there was the potential for "real-world harm" from these videos. This just one "strike" against Sky — two more would lead to a permanent channel ban.

Sky said it found older videos that broke YouTube's rules, but rejected claims that any of its hosts denied COVID-19's existence. The broadcaster's digital editor alleged that YouTube was threatening free thought, although YouTube is notably focusing on demonstrable facts, not opinions.

The TV network has come under fire for its stance on COVID-19, particularly from host Alan Jones. He falsely claimed the SARS-CoV-2 virus was "not a pandemic" in 2020, and in July incorrectly maintained that the virus' Delta variant was neither dangerous nor affected by vaccines. An uproar over those last statements prompted Sky to make a formal apology on July 19th, removing the relevant video at the same time.

The suspension won't dramatically damage Sky's Australian revenue. It's still rare for YouTube to take that kind of action against a major media network, though. The move also sends a signal — large outlets can't count on their size to shield them against YouTube crackdowns.

Morning mail: historic Olympic medal haul, YouTube bans Sky News, fires in Europe

The Guardian Australia 01 August, 2021 - 04:09pm

Last modified on Sun 1 Aug 2021 17.11 EDT

In Tokyo, Australia took four gold medals on Sunday – a record for the country in a single day. It overtook the Russians and moved into the fourth place on the medal table. Logan Martin won the first-ever gold medal in BMX freestyle, a sport that made its Olympic debut this year. Sailor Matt Wearn won the laser class. In the pool, Emma McKeon has become the most successful Australian Olympian at a single games. On Sunday, she added individual and relay gold medals to the nation’s tally, winning the women’s 50m freestyle and the women’s 4x100m medley relay, alongside Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges and Cate Campbell.

The NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state plans to break vaccination records this month in an effort to control Covid, as 239 new cases were recorded on Sunday. “I am an optimist, it is a month for all of us to come forward and get the vaccine,” she said. NSW is aiming to have 80% of the state vaccinated, but Berejiklian said even having 60% of eligible adults vaccinated “gives you a whole lot more options”. “That is not a way to live, which is why we have been saying in NSW we would like this to be our last lockdown, so long as people get vaccinated.”

Sky News Australia has been banned from YouTube for seven days for spreading Covid misinformation. YouTube has not disclosed which Sky News program prompted the ban, but said the channel posted numerous videos which denied the existence of Covid-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin. Sky News Australia said it “expressly rejects” claims that any hosts ever denied the existence of Covid-19 and that “no such videos were ever published or removed”.

The Coalition government will spend nearly $20,000 to send former prime minister Tony Abbott on a five-day trade mission to India this month. The Australian trade minister, Dan Tehan, had earlier announced the government would “partly support” Abbott’s travel to India in early August “to progress our significant economic and trade relationship”.

Former NSW MP Michael Johnsen will not be charged after he was accused under parliamentary privilege of raping a sex worker. “Following recommendations by the DPP, there was insufficient admissible evidence to proceed with charges,” NSW police said in a statement.

Three members of Australia’s Bali Nine, who have served 16 years behind bars, should be forgiven and allowed to walk free one day, prison and justice ministry officials say. The three, who are jailed in Bali, are serving life sentences for their role in an ill-fated heroin-smuggling plot and unless they can win a reprieve from Indonesia’s president, will never be freed.

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has called on the International Olympic Committee to intervene, claiming she was dropped from the national team and taken, against her wishes, to Tokyo airport after she openly criticised the national team’s coaches. Tsimanouskaya said she has sought the protection of Tokyo police and did not plan to return to her country.

Six months after seizing power, Myanmar’s military leader has declared himself prime minister, and said he will lead the country under the nation’s state of emergency until elections that are promised to be held in 2023.

The Taliban escalated its nationwide offensive in Afghanistan on Sunday, renewing assaults on three major cities and rocketing a major airport in Kandahar amid warnings that the conflict was rapidly worsening. Afghan forces have been deployed to the western city of Herat and Lashkar Gah in south.

Australia needs a Covid plan B that gives more freedom to the vaccinated, Liz Hicks and Greg Dore write. “Delta has altered the viability of Australia’s current strategy. Continuing a one-size-fits-all approach to risk that does not differentiate its restrictions on rights according to vaccination status will inflict more pain on the Australian community than necessary to control the current outbreak. Australia needs a plan B … Individuals should have freedoms restored to them once they are fully vaccinated – including the ability for vaccinated citizens and residents to leave Australia without an exemption, and on return home quarantine without being counted toward the caps.”

Growing up Arab in south-east Queensland, it was hard for Sara El Sayed to find her community. Muddy People, the debut memoir by the Egyptian-born Muslim writer, isn’t the quintessential story of migrant Otherness, Sara Ayoub writes. Instead, it’s a reflection of moving between the lines that are drawn for us – as children, as girls, as migrants – as we come of age. And for El Sayed, those lines were drawn by family members whose logic was driven by love and tradition, a logic that was more often than not, “muddy”.

It might seem like a post-Trump world, but in red states across the US the former president’s most hardline supporters are setting the political agenda. Rachel Humphreys speaks to David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, about the politics that lie behind that move to the right, and how in the era of coronavirus it will further deepen the sense that there are two vastly different Americas.

Sorry your browser does not support audio - but you can download here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2020/05/05-61553-gnl.fw.200505.jf.ch7DW.mp3

The imminent removal of Alastair Clarkson as Hawthorn head coach is a loss for the AFL club, Scott Heinrich writes. Throughout this ordeal – and this is what it should be termed for a man who has led his club with distinction – Clarkson’s head has been held high.

Rio Tinto could owe as much as $400m to the traditional owners of a major Pilbara iron ore mine, the Australian reports ($). Opera Australia is preparing to make a dash from lockdown Sydney to Brisbane after receiving $4m in federal assistance to help it survive its shattered winter season, Sydney Morning Herald says. And 12,000 racing lovers are expected to file through the gates for the Darwin Cup on Monday, NT News reports.

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If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email newsletters@theguardian.com.

YouTube suspends TV news station over COVID misinformation

Newsweek 01 August, 2021 - 06:31am

The suspension was imposed on Thursday after the social media company reviewed several posts, which questioned whether there was a pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines, uploaded by the TV channel.

Its clips were shared with the YouTube channel's 1.8 million-strong following, while its commentators enjoy a conservative following beyond Australia.

In a statement obtained by The Guardian, YouTube said: "We have clear and established COVID-19 medical misinformation policies...to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation that could cause real-world harm.

"We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia's channel."

It concluded: "Specifically, we don't allow content that denies the existence of COVID-19 or that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus. We do allow for videos that have sufficient countervailing context, which the violative videos did not provide."

In a statement obtained by AFP, Sky News Australia said "we support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy."

"We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously."

Newsweek has contacted YouTube and Sky News Australia for comment.

Sky News Australia's last upload on July 28 featured host Alan Jones, 80, criticizing lockdowns and attacking stay-at-home orders in Sydney, the country's largest city.

Two days prior, Jones also railed against chief medical adviser to the president Dr. Anthony Fauci's COVID guidance to U.S. states that he and his team are "on the left side of politics."

In its community guidelines section, YouTube explains its "three-strike" policy in which the first results in a one-week ban where the channel will be unable to upload videos, live streams, or stories.

Following the lifting of the suspension, access will be restored, but the strike remains on the channel for 90 days.

Should a user violate the conditions again in that 90-day period then a second strike will be issued, which results in a two-week suspension and again the strikes will not expire for 90 days.

A third and final strike is issued if a violation happens in those 90 days where the channel will be permanently removed from YouTube.

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YouTube suspends Sky News Australia for breaching COVID-19 misinformation guidelines in deleted videos

ABC News 01 August, 2021 - 03:29am

In a statement, Sky News Australia, which is a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, said the suspension was related to videos discussing COVID-19.

The channel said it rejects that any of their broadcasters have "ever denied the existence of COVID-19 as was implied, and no such videos were ever published or removed".

"We support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives, which is vital to any democracy," a Sky News Australia spokesperson said.

"We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously."

YouTube, which is owned by Google, does not allow videos to be uploaded which pose a risk or harm to people, or which contradicts health guidelines including advice about COVID-19 treatment, prevention, transmission, and social distancing.

A spokesperson for YouTube said it had removed videos from its site and given the channel its "first strike".

Three strikes in 90 days will result in any YouTube channel being permanently deleted.

"We have clear and established COVID-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation," a YouTube spokesperson said.

"We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader and, in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia's channel."

Sky News Australia has around 1.85 million subscribers and said it has uploaded more than 20,000 videos in the previous 12 months.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

YouTube suspends Sky News Australia channel - France 24

FRANCE 24 01 August, 2021 - 02:18am

YouTube said Sunday it had barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content for one week, citing concerns about Covid-19 misinformation.

The move comes after a review of posts uploaded by the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV channel, which has a substantial online presence.

"We have clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies... to prevent the spread of Covid-19 misinformation that could cause real-world harm," a YouTube statement said.

With 1.86 million YouTube subscribers, the channel -- which is owned by a subsidiary of Murdoch's News Corp -- has a conservative following well beyond Australia.

Its posts, including some questioning whether there is a pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines, are widely shared on social media forums around the world that spread virus and vaccine misinformation.

The last YouTube upload, from three days ago, features a host claiming that lockdowns have failed and criticising state authorities for extending Sydney's current stay-at-home orders.

Sky News confirmed the temporary ban and a spokesperson said "we support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy".

"We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously."

YouTube has a "three strikes" policy on violations, with the first resulting in a one-week suspension, a second strike within 90 days producing a two-week ban, while a third means permanent removal from the platform.

Former US president Donald Trump was temporarily banned under the policy.

YouTube is owned by Google parent company Alphabet.

Sky News Australia banned from YouTube for seven days over Covid misinformation

The Guardian 31 July, 2021 - 11:40pm

The ban was imposed by the digital giant on Thursday afternoon, the day after the Daily Telegraph ended Alan Jones’s regular column amid controversy about his Covid-19 commentary which included calling the New South Wales chief health officer Kerry Chant a village idiot on his Sky News program.

News Corp told Guardian Australia the ending of Jones’s column did not mean the company does not support the “compelling” broadcaster.

YouTube has not disclosed which Sky News program the videos were from but said there were “numerous” offending videos which have now been removed.

The ban will impact Sky News’s revenue stream from Google, which started after News Corp signed a historic multi-year partnership with Google in February under the media bargaining code.

What a damning indictment on our political and media landscape that this extremist, conspiratorial, racist news channel is still considered normal and acceptable. Sky’s time is up. https://t.co/kw6TigECV2

The strike was revealed on the same day as Sky launched a new free-to-air channel Sky News Regional across regional Australia.

The channel carries all the Sky After Dark commentators, including Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin and Jones, as well as a new three-hour breakfast show.

Videos that did not violate policies and were posted before Thursday are still online. Three strikes in the same 90-day period will result in a channel being permanently removed from YouTube.

“We have clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 misinformation that could cause real-world harm,” a YouTube spokesperson told Guardian Australia.

“We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel.

“Specifically, we don’t allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19 or that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus. We do allow for videos that have sufficient countervailing context, which the violative videos did not provide.”

YouTube’s decisive action is in stark contrast to the response from local media regulators.

Neither the Australian Communications and Media Authority nor the subscription television body, Astra, took any action when informed of Jones’s Covid broadcast on Monday.

“The Acma is aware of the broadcasts and various concerns raised about them,” a spokesman told Guardian Australia. “At this stage we will wait to see how complaints are handled by the broadcaster under the co-regulatory system.”

Sky News Australia said it “expressly rejects” claims that any hosts ever denied the existence of Covid-19 and that “no such videos were ever published or removed”.

The broadcaster said “a review of old videos published to the channel” had uncovered material that did not comply with YouTube’s policies.

Sky’s YouTube channel has grown in two years from 70,000 subscribers to 1.85m, which is higher than ABC News or any other local media company.

One of the most popular videos, with 4.6m views, is Jones’s “Australians must know the truth – this virus is not a pandemic”, which was posted at the height of the pandemic last year.

On 19 July, Sky News was forced to apologise for a Jones interview with MP Craig Kelly in which they claimed the Delta variant is not dangerous and vaccines won’t help you. The video was removed and a lengthy apology was published on the Sky News website.

YouTube is an important platform for Sky News and the more extreme the video, the more popular it is.

Earlier this week after he was dumped by the Daily Telegraph, Jones, 80, pointed to his success on the platform.

“Have a look at Sky News YouTube, Sky News Facebook and Alan Jones Facebook and you can see,” Jones told his viewers. “The same column that I write for the Tele goes up on my Facebook page.

“The public can check it for themselves. Thirty-five years at top of the radio – and I don’t resonate with the public? Honestly.”

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