“TalkRadio’s YouTube channel was suspended shortly, but after a subsequent review, it is again available,” the YouTube statement succinctly explains. The cancellation decision was met with a lot of criticism, especially by digital rights defenders, with Big Brother Watch describing the measure as “the censorship of big technology is getting out of control”. YouTube had gone ahead with the cancellation because it considered the channel to have been used to post material that contradicted health experts’ recommendations regarding the new coronavirus pandemic.
“We quickly removed content that violates our guidelines, including content about Covid-19 that explicitly contradicted the consensus of local health officials and the World Health Organization. We make exceptions for materials published for educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purposes, as was the case, ”says the YouTube statement quoted by BBC.
Although the details of TalkRadio’s alleged violations are not known, it is known that YouTube operates from a three-strand perspective before removing content or proceeding with the decision to permanently cancel the channel. Independent verifiers had, on several occasions, warned that interviewees on that channel were making false statements and contradicting the experts’ consensus.
TalkRadio said, just minutes after YouTube restored the channel, that “YouTube is making decisions about what opinions the public can hear, even when they are issued by new, accountable and regulated suppliers”. The radio did not seem to know at the time that the channel had been re-established.
The channel had more than 424 thousand listeners and 242 thousand subscribers.
The decision to remove the channel appeared to be permanent, but the Google platform appears to have backed off, saying it was a short suspension. YouTube officials are expected to issue further clarifications so that they can better understand what happened and avoid future controversies.