UK broadcaster talkRADIO removed from YouTube

LONDON (Reuters) – British national radio station talkRADIO on Tuesday said that YouTube had removed its channel from the video-sharing platform and had given no detailed reason for doing so.

TalkRADIO has more than 400,000 listeners and is regulated by Britain’s main broadcast watchdog, Ofcom.

“We urgently await a detailed response from Google/YouTube about the nature of the breach that has led to our channel being removed from its platform,” talkRADIO said in a statement.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TalkRADIO is one of Britain’s main news and speech radio stations and regularly hosts government ministers.

The station broadcasts via digital radio as well as online and used YouTube to host a video feed of live broadcasts and an archive of past shows.

Some of its presenters have criticised government measures to slow the spread of coronavirus as excessive or ill-targeted.

Senior minister Michael Gove, speaking to talkRADIO on Tuesday, said the broadcaster should be free to question COVID policy without interference from large technology companies.

“I don’t believe in censorship,” Gove said. “I think it’s absolutely right that people should ask questions.”

Under Ofcom rules, all British broadcasters are required to ensure that news is reported accurately and impartially.

In February Ofcom fined talkRADIO 75,000 pounds ($101,737), relating to broadcasts in 2018 by former lawmaker George Galloway, which it ruled lacked impartiality. TalkRADIO sacked Galloway in 2019 over a separate incident.

TalkRADIO said on Tuesday that it had robust editorial controls and took care to balance debate.

“We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place, use verifiable sources and give space to a careful selection of voices and opinions,” it said.

($1 = 0.7372 pounds)

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