YouTube Reinstates News Corp. Radio Station Following Ban

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Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube restored a News Corp.-owned U.K. radio station to its service after suspending the channel for most of a day because it allegedly breached content standards.

Links that led to TalkRadio’s YouTube page on Tuesday were redirected to a message that the account had been “terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” It was reactivated after 7 p.m. in London.

“TalkRadio’s YouTube channel was briefly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated,” YouTube said in a statement. “We quickly remove flagged content that violate our community guidelines, including Covid-19 content that explicitly contradicts 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,” YouTube added, without immediately elaborating which exception applied -- or which videos had merited the suspension.

TalkRadio demanded clarification about its ban in an earlier statement, adding that its content is regulated by U.K. media watchdog Ofcom. British ministers last month proposed sweeping laws to curb illegal and harmful content online.

Blocking a news brand run by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch marked one of YouTube’s highest-profile interventions. It’s previously taken down the account of the Trump-supporting One America News Network, citing breaches of rules.

Murdoch’s News Corp. bought TalkRadio’s owner Wireless Group in 2016 and has recently expanded its digital broadcast media offering. He’s been an outspoken critic of Silicon Valley giant as he pushes for what he deems a fairer share of their advertising revenue.

TalkRadio broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer complained about the move on Twitter. Without naming YouTube specifically, she asked government Minister Michael Gove about big tech “censorship” on her Tuesday morning show.

TalkRadio calls itself the “home of free speech,” and its commentators have questioned the wisdom of government lockdown measures aimed at halting the spread of Covid-19.

“We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place,” TalkRadio said. “We use verifiable sources and give space to a careful selection of voices and opinions.”

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