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YouTube temporarily bans Sky News Australia for alleged COVID-19 policy breaches
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  • YouTube slaps Sky News Australia with a temporary ban for an alleged lack of compliance with the video-sharing site's COVID-19 policies
  • The ban comes after YouTube conducted a review into some old videos published on the Sky News Australia YouTube channel
  • Sky News says it "expressly rejects" that any of its hosts ever denied the existence of COVID-19 and no such videos were ever published or removed
  • The one-week suspension is the first strike in a YouTube policy under which any channel to get three strikes in 90 days will be permanently deleted
  • The YouTube ban comes on the same day Sky News launched a free-to-air television channel across regional Australia

YouTube has slapped Sky News Australia with a temporary ban for an alleged lack of compliance with the video-sharing site's COVID-19 policies.

Sky confirmed the one-week suspension in a statement on Sunday, saying it came after a review of old videos published on the Sky News Australia YouTube channel.

"Sky News Australia acknowledged YouTube's right to enforce its policies and looks forward to conintuing to publish its popular news and analysis content back to its audience of 1.85 million YouTube subscribers shortly," the statement from the News Corp subsidiary said.

However, Sky added that YouTube's COVID-19 policies are subject to change based on changing global and local health authority guidance — seemingly suggesting that the old videos in question were once in compliance with YouTube's guidelines.

"We support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy," a Sky News Australia spokesperson said.

"We take out commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously."

Further, Sky News said it "expressly rejects" that any of its hosts ever denied the existence of COVID-19, and no such videos were ever published or removed.

Alongside the Sky News ban, YouTube has removed the old videos that breached its COVID-19 policies.

A YouTube spokesperson said the company applied its policies equally for everyone, with the Sky News ban the first strike of YouTube's three-strike system.

Any channel that gets three strikes in 90 days will be permanently deleted from YouTube.

YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, does not allow videos on its platform which contradict health guidelines and advice around COVID-19 treatment, prevention and transmission.

The platform has issued dozens of bans over the past two years, with offending videos often relating to COVID-19 misinformation or hate speech.

The Sky News Australia strike came on the same day the news company launched a free-to-air television channel across regional Australia.

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