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AUSTRALIA (LifeSiteNews) – YouTube has temporarily suspended Sky News Australia for alleged COVID-19 “misinformation,” in what one editor with the news agency calls a “disturbing attack on the ability to think freely.”

Reuters reports that the suspension came last Thursday after the Google-owned video giant says it determined that content posted by Sky News “denied the existence of Covid-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat the coronavirus, without providing countervailing context.”

“We apply our policies equally for everyone and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel,” a YouTube spokesperson explained.

“Sky News Australia acknowledges YouTube’s right to enforce its policies and looks forward to continuing to publish its popular news and analysis content to its subscribers shortly,” Sky News responded in a statement.

Sky News Australia digital editor Jack Houghton had more to say in an op-ed, starting with the observation that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares a right to the “freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

“Among the videos deemed unpalatable for societal consumption were debates around whether masks were effective and whether lockdowns were justified when considering their adverse health outcomes,” he continued, explaining that Sky News employs commentators on both sides of the question, and therefore published both perspectives for audiences to consider and compare. 

He noted that medical authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and America’s Dr. Anthony Fauci’s advice on these points has changed over time: “I make these points not to suggest Fauci had some nefarious motive in making these comments, only to highlight that in a pandemic the flow of information changes rapidly.”

“In the case of Sky News Australia’s now removed content, most of it dates back to the same year Fauci made those comments,” Houghton said. “But YouTube is looking at the debates and discussions through the lens of contemporary health advice.”

Houghton went on to call out YouTube for giving a pass to clearer-cut cases of misinformation on the political Left, such as U.S. President Joe Biden falsely claiming “you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” media outlets who have falsely described ​​Sky News Australia presenter Alan Jones as “anti-vax” despite Jones having both promoted the COVID-19 vaccines and taken one himself, or the WHO’s early claims that COVID was not airborne and that the Chinese government responded to the outbreak with transparency.

That final example is particularly concerning, he argued, considering that YouTube defers to the WHO to define medical misinformation. “No one body should have that power – let alone an organisation with such a poor track record,” he said. “Even more concerning is what this does to the freedom of debate and conversation.”

Conservatives say the trend of the world’s biggest communication platforms assuming the role of “misinformation” arbiters has been among the most alarming facets of the COVID-19 response. In the United States, the Biden administration and various state-level officials have openly encouraged the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to take down unapproved content, which a pending lawsuit by former President Donald Trump argues transforms Big Tech’s censorship actions from private decisions to First Amendment violations.