YouTube has sanctioned Sky News Australia by barring it from uploading new content for a week for breaching rules on spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
It has imposed a “strike” as part of its three-strike policy, the last of which is sanctioned by permanent removal.
YouTube did not refer to specific videos released by Sky News Australia, but spoke out against material that “could cause real-world harm.”
The broadcaster’s digital editor said the decision was a disturbing affront to the ability to think freely.
Sky News Australia, is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and has 1.85 million YouTube subscribers. The ban could have a negative impact on its revenue stream from Google.
A YouTube statement said there were “clear and established COVID-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance” and that the videos in question “did not provide sufficient countervailing context,” a spokesperson said.
Millions of Australians are now in lockdown to prevent the rapid spread of the contagious Delta variant, while less than 15% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Comments by seasoned Sky presenter Alan Jones have sparked a debate in Australia, with the pair claiming in a July 12 broadcast with MP Craig Kelly that the Delta was not as dangerous as the original and vaccinations would not help.
The Sky News website issued an apology.
YouTube has issued dozens of bans in the past two years, a number of which concern COVID-19, but most involve hate speech.
For more information, read the original story in BBC.