Google today shut down TalkRadio’s YouTube channel amid claims the broadcaster ‘violated’ the website’s ‘community guidelines’ by airing criticism of coronavirus lockdowns.
News UK, which owns the radio station, is now urgently seeking a full explanation from the tech giant about the ‘nature of the breach’ that led to the account being removed from its platform.
In what appears to be an extraordinary clampdown, Google terminated the station’s YouTube channel at around 1am, reportedly for violating its ‘community guidelines’, according to Guido Fawkes.
Google has not explained why it deleted the TalkRadio account and had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
The move has sparked a freedom of speech backlash led by senior minister Michael Gove and actor Laurence Fox, while civil liberties groups compared Google’s action to Chinese censorship.
TalkRadio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer today denied that the broadcaster had flouted YouTube’s community guidelines, tweeting: ‘We simply challenge the evidence that lockdowns are a proportionate response to the Covid virus. It’s called free speech.’