Sky News has been barred from uploading videos to YouTube for seven days for promoting content which denies the existence of Covid-19 and spruiking controversial treatments that aren’t backed by science.
The ban was imposed on Thursday after the broadcaster posted ‘numerous’ videos, which have since been removed, that violated the tech giant’s medical misinformation policies.
Youtube would not say what the offending videos were, but content posted before Thursday that did not violate terms are still available for the channel’s 1.85 million subscribers to view.
Sky News has been banned from uploading videos to YouTube for seven days (stock image)
If the broadcaster receives three warnings within 90 days, the channel will be permanently removed from YouTube.
A spokesperson for the video streaming platform said policies are in place to avoid the spread of misinformation regarding Covid-19.
‘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,’ they told Guardian Australia.
‘We do allow for videos that have sufficient countervailing context, which the violative videos did not provide.’
Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis but was hailed as a ‘miracle drug’ against coronavirus by some at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
Further studies have revealed the medication does not prevent or cure Covid-19.
According to the Australian National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce: ‘The drug does not reduce mortality, or shorten the amount of time a sick person spends in hospital. It also exposes them to side effects including cardiac toxicity.’
The Sky News Australia YouTube channel has published more than 20,000 videos over the past year (stock image)
Ivermectin is commonly used to treat parasites such as head lice and scabies and was also touted as a potential cure for the virus, but the Department of Health does not recommend it based on a lack of scientific evidence.
Sky News Australia says it ‘expressly rejects’ that any of its hosts ever denied the existence of Covid-19.
In a statement on the Sky News website, the channel acknowledged YouTube’s right to enforce its policies and looks forward to continuing posting to its subscribers shortly.
A Sky News Australia representative said: ‘We support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy.
‘We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously.’
The Sky News Australia YouTube channel has published more than 20,000 videos over the past year.
In a similar turn of events, the Daily Telegraph dumped a regular column by Alan Jones (pictured) over his comments on coronavirus
In a similar turn of events, the Daily Telegraph dumped a regular column by Alan Jones over his comments on coronavirus.
On Monday, he called NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant ‘dumb’ and ‘out of touch’.
‘How many villages are missing their idiot?’ he said.
In his final column last week, Jones argued that Covid-19 was no worse than a regular flu or a cold for healthy people.
Jones also said also said it was ‘highly unlikely’ that a 38-year-old Sydney woman died of Covid-19 last week.
New South Wales reported 239 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday.
There are 54 patients being treated in the intensive care unit with a large number under 60 including seven in their 20s, five in their 30s, two in their 40s and six in their 50s.
NSW deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty warned younger Sydneysiders aged between 18 and 30 were the biggest spreaders of the virus.
‘We are seeing cases at high rates in those age group,’ he said.
‘This is the age group that tends to be a link between kids, younger people, and older, elderly relatives.
‘They are working, they have big social networks, if you are in that age group it is important that you be aware that you are very vulnerable to the infection, as we have seen in ICU numbers you can get serious disease. It is important you come forward for vaccination.’
Of the new cases, only 80 of the new cases were in isolation, with 35 partially out in the community while infectious and at least 26 were out in the public and not isolating.