FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Tue Sep 7 19:06:17 PDT 2021

> Leftist BigTech Social and News Media has increasingly
> been CensorBanning... everything

> SkyNews got CensorBanned apparently because of this
> fact filled editorial coverage...
>  SkyNews CensorBanned

Sky News Boss Lambasts YouTube For Suspension, "Opaque" Guidelines

Claims that Sky News Australia is spreading COVID-19 misinformation
are “frankly ridiculous,” according to CEO Paul Whittaker, who issued
a stinging criticism of video-sharing giant YouTube, at a
parliamentary inquiry on Monday.

Fronting the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications,
Whittaker questioned why the Google-owned tech giant could be an
arbiter of content.

    “There is no expectation that our viewers agree with every opinion
expressed by every host, guest, or panellist,” he said.

    “But it now appears commonplace to discredit any debate on
contentious issues as ‘misinformation’.”

“YouTube’s actions make clear that it is not a neutral platform, but a
publisher selectively broadcasting content and censoring certain
views, while allowing videos that are patently false, misogynistic,
and racist to proliferate,” Whittaker said.

    “Why does a tech giant, YouTube, and faceless, nameless
individuals backed by an algorithm, based in California, get to decide
that holding governments and decision-makers to account is
‘misinformation’? Why do they get to decide what is and isn’t allowed
to be news?” he said.

Paul Whittaker, CEO of Sky News Australia appearing via video link at
a parliamentary inquiry into media diversity on Sept. 6, 2021

The committee is investigating the state of media diversity and
concentration in Australia.

The inquiry was launched following a petition spearheaded by former
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to investigate the influence of Rupert
Murdoch’s News Corporation.

In early August, YouTube suspended Sky News’ for one week for
allegedly posting “COVID-19 misinformation,” issuing a “first strike”
against the 24-hour news channel—akin to a warning under its three
strikes policy.

Lucinda Longcroft, Google Australia’s director of government affairs
and public policy, told the inquiry earlier that the tech giant
enforced its own code on COVID-19-related content, claiming to work
with health and media authorities to combat false and harmful content.

    “Where there are videos that, without further context, assert that
those drugs [ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine] are effective we
remove them because of the danger and medical harm that could be
caused to users,” Longcroft said.

Over 5,000 “dangerous and misleading” videos were traced to Australian
IP addresses and removed by YouTube between February 2020 to March
2021, including 23 videos posted by Sky News.

Longcroft said Sky News’ content was removed due to violations of the
code as well as two breaches of political integrity guidelines.

However, Whittaker countered by saying that it was in the public
interest for alternative drugs to be discussed, especially because no
vaccines were available last year.

A woman with a smartphone walks past a billboard advertisement for
YouTube in Berlin on Sept. 27, 2019. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

    “Sky News Australia strongly supports vaccination. Any claims to
the contrary are false and a blatant attempt to discredit and harm our
news service,” he said.

    “It’s a scientific debate that continues to this day.”

The CEO also said YouTube’s review process lacked transparency and was
“incapable of compliance.”

“Unlike other publishers’ policies, YouTube’s process for review and
removal of content lacks transparency and a clearly articulated
process which affords channel operators the opportunity to address
concerns or to challenge an assessment prior to a suspension
occurring,” he said.

He claimed Sky News had attempted to seek confirmation from YouTube on
whether historical content would trigger any further action but said
no response was given.

    “With no transparency provided, Sky News took the proactive
approach of removing a batch of videos all published during 2020 from
online platforms to ensure ongoing compliance with YouTube’s arbitrary
editorial guidelines,” Whittaker said, noting it was not an admission
of failure to comply with YouTube’s regulations, but “merely an
attempt to navigate opaque polices.”

He also raised comparisons with authoritarianism.

    “If we’re saying that YouTube is the model that we want our
regulator to abide by. That means we are saying they should be able to
shutdown a major TV network with 30 minutes notice, with no
complication, no explanation, no written justification, no procedural
fairness. That to me sounds more like authoritarianism or a
totalitarian state, rather than a liberal democracy.”

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen
projection of YouTube’s logo in this picture illustration taken March
28, 2018. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

Whittaker said it was “beyond debate” that YouTube should be deemed a
publisher that selectively edited content for political and commercial

    “But unlike traditional media it does not accept any of the
regulatory or legal burdens that being deemed a ‘publisher’ carries
with it,” he said, calling for “vigorous debate” on treating YouTube
as a publisher.

Sky News has uploaded over 50,000 hours of content on YouTube and has
garnered over 1.98 million followers.

The channel has consistently covered updates on global efforts to
track down the origins of COVID-19, some of which were initially
dismissed as “conspiracy theories,” however, other news outlets have
since recognised the viability of these explanations.

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