Political Theater

Sky News Australia Suspended by YouTube

YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2015. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)


By Melanie Sun August 1, 2021 Updated: August 1, 2021

YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2015. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)MOREHIDE

YouTube has temporarily suspended Sky News Australia from posting on its video platform, issuing a first strike to the popular conservative news channel over “COVID-19 misinformation,” according to a statement.

The tech giant said its decision to issue a strike was based on local and global health authority guidance, which Sky News Australia challenged as being constantly “subject to change” alongside updates to guidance from the various authorities.

Sky News Australia said the suspension was over “old videos” posted on its channel.

The strike means that Sky News Australia is suspended for a week from uploading content to its 1.85 million subscribers on its YouTube account.

“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,” YouTube said in an early version of its statement that was sent to local media. “We do allow for videos that have sufficient countervailing context, which the violative videos did not provide.”

Sky News Australia said it “expressly rejects that any host has ever denied the existence of COVID-19 as was implied, and no such videos were ever published or removed.”

It added that the network acknowledges YouTube’s right to enforce its own policies and “looks forward to continuing to publish its popular news and analysis content back to its audience.”

“We support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy,” a spokesperson for the network added. “We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously.”

Local media reported that the strike began on July 29.

According to YouTube’s policies, three strikes within a 90-day period will see a channel banned permanently from the platform.

One of Sky News’ reporters has consistently been the first to cover controversial updates on global efforts to track down the origins of COVID-19, some of which were initially dismissed as “conspiracy theories” by other outlets but have since gained wider recognition as possible explanations.

Sky News Australia investigative reporter Sharri Markson was among the first to report on existing footage of bat research from inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology, dating back to May 2017, while members of the World Health Organization’s investigative team continued to deny that live bats had ever been housed at the facility.


Olympian Fears Jail After ‘Negligence’ Comment About Belarusian Staff: ‘Not Safe For Me’


Eric Quintanar

A 24-year-old female athlete from the European country of Belarus will reportedly seek asylum in another country after the Belarusian Olympic Committee staff allegedly retaliated against her for speaking negatively of them and then tried to take her back home against her will.

The athlete, sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, says she was removed from the olympic team after speaking “about the negligence of our coaches” in an Instagram post, according to Reuters, which spoke to her at the airport in Tokyo. “Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4×400 m relay because they didn’t have enough doping tests,” she said.

“And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me,” she said.

Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, is known as Europe’s last dictator, and his country recently made headlines for arresting a journalist critical of his regime while the journalist was flying over Belarusian airspace. In December, the International Olympic Committee banned him from attending the Olympics on behalf of his country.

After Tsimanouskaya criticized her country’s Olympics officials, the Belarusian Olympic Committee claimed that the athlete was withdrawing from participation because of her “emotional and psychological state.” They then took her to the Tokyo airport.

But she claims that the Belarusian Olympic Committee is lying about the reason she left, according to The Washington Post, and after she arrived at the Tokyo airport, she told Japanese authorities that she did not, in fact, want to return to Belarus.

“I am under pressure and they are trying to take me out of the country without my consent. I ask the International Olympic Committee to interfere,” she said in a video posted by Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation, a non-governmental organization.

“I am afraid that in Belarus they might put me in jail. I am not afraid that I will be fired or kicked out of the national command,” she told Belarusian media outlet Tribuna. “I am worried about my safety. And I think that at the moment it is not safe for me in Belarus.”

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled Belarusian opposition leader, came out in support of her: “She’s afraid to come back to Minsk. No athlete should be forced this way.”

Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsymanouskaya was forced by the regime to leave the @Olympics in Tokyo & fly to Belarus after criticizing Belarus’ management of the national team during the games. She’s afraid to come back to Minsk. No athlete should be forced this way. pic.twitter.com/1Ros5scrJG

— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) August 1, 2021

German-language newspaper Deutsche Welle, citing an anonymous source, reports that Tsimanouskaya plans to seek asylum with Germany or Austria on Monday. The International Olympic Committee has said they will stay up-to-date with developments.

The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with Krystsina Tsymanouskaya and the authorities to determine the next steps in the upcoming days. /2

— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) August 1, 2021

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