TalkRADIO reinstated to YouTube after it ‘challenged expert advice on Covid’

Broadcaster was removed for contradicting guidance of World Health Organisation and scientists

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British national radio station talkRADIO on Tuesday said it has been reinstated to YouTube after a temporary ban.

TalkRADIO, which has more than 400,000 weekly listeners, was removed from the video-hosting platform after sharing content that contradicted expert advice about the coronavirus pandemic.

The station said YouTube had not fully explained the decision behind its ban, which sparked a debate in the UK over big tech and free speech.

“TalkRADIO’s YouTube channel was briefly suspended, but upon further review has been reinstated,” YouTube said

“We quickly remove flagged content that violates our community guidelines, including Covid-19 content that explicitly contradicts expert consensus from local authorities or the World Health Organisation.”

News Corp-owned talkRADIO is one of Britain’s main news and speech radio stations and hosts government ministers regularly.

The station broadcasts via digital radio as well as online and uses YouTube to host a video feed of live broadcasts and an archive of past shows.

Some of its presenters have described government measures to slow the spread of coronavirus as excessive or ill-judged.

Senior minister Michael Gove, speaking to talkRADIO on Tuesday, said the broadcaster should be free to question policy over the pandemic without interference from large technology companies. “I don’t believe in censorship,” Mr Gove said. “I think it’s absolutely right that people should ask questions.”

TalkRADIO is regulated by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and is required to ensure that news is reported accurately and impartially.

In February, Ofcom fined talkRADIO £75,000 ($102,468), relating to broadcasts in 2018 by former MP George Galloway, which it ruled lacked impartiality. TalkRADIO sacked Mr Galloway in 2019 over a separate incident.

The station said on Tuesday that it had robust editorial controls and took care to balance debate. “We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place, use verifiable sources and give space to a careful selection of voices and opinions,” it said.