Sky News Australia SUSPENDED from YouTube for 'COVID-19 misinformation'

Sky News Australia, which has over over 1.85 million subscribers, has been SUSPENDED from YouTube for a week over 'COVID-19 misinformation.'

 

In a statement to 6 News, a YouTube spokesperson said: "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."

 

"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."

The ACMA has now responded to questions about the suspension, telling 6 News in a statement:

“Australia’s legislated co-regulatory scheme for commercial broadcasting requires licensees to have mechanisms in place to comply with industry codes of practice covering matters such as accuracy and impartiality in news and current affairs.

 

The scheme also anticipates that broadcasters have the initial opportunity to respond to audience complaints and take action when they identify they have breached their code of practice.

 

The co-regulatory scheme is designed to put responsibilities directly on media to balance protection from harmful content and Australians’ implied right to freedom of speech in news and current affairs.

Since the beginning of 2020, the ACMA has received 23 complaints about Sky’s coverage of the Covid pandemic. Most recently, the ACMA received seven complaints relating to a broadcast on 12 July 2021 of a segment on the Alan Jones program featuring Mr Jones and Craig Kelly MP.

 

The complainants were referred to Sky in the first instance and the ACMA will consider the matter and take the broadcaster’s actions to correct and remove the segment into account if any of the complainants refer their complaint back to the ACMA.

 

Consistent with the co-regulatory scheme, the ACMA is monitoring Sky’s response to ongoing community concerns about its coverage, as well as whether the current code provisions and the way they are managed by broadcasters are adequate.

 

Digital platforms such as YouTube are not currently subject to the same co-regulatory arrangements as Australia’s traditional broadcast media.

 

In this case YouTube has made its decision to suspend Sky News according to its own policies for its platform. The ACMA is not aware of the content on which YouTube based its decision.”

They did not directly respond to several of our questions.

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