Lawmakers to Grill Sky News Australia as YouTube Lifts Suspension for ‘Coronavirus Misinformation’

A masked pedestrian walks past a poster for the film Cruella in downtown Melbourne on Augu

Sky News Australia will face a Senate inquiry after serving a week-long suspension by YouTube over allegations of coronavirus misinformation, the senator in charge of the hearing said Friday.

The news channel is due to come before an upper house panel hearing in Canberra set down for next Friday, AFP reports.

Left-wing Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, chair of the Senate’s media diversity committee, said her panel had called Sky News Australia executives, YouTube, and the Australian media regulator to appear.

“Australians are rightly worried about the promotion and dissemination of Covid lies and conspiracy theories that put lives at risk and undermine public health,” she said.

As Breitbart News reported, YouTube temporarily cut Sky News Australia from its 1.87 million subscribers last week, saying it had removed some videos and “issued a strike” against the channel for supposedly spreading “misinformation” about the Chinese coronavirus.

The Silicon Valley tech giant did not disclose which videos had violated their policies about the coronavirus.

The digital editor for Sky News Australia, Jack Houghton, said the suspension represented an attack on the fundamental human right of freedom of speech.

He cited U.N. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Hanson-Young claimed Australia’s television regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, appeared to have been “sitting on its hands.”

“If information is too dangerous for the internet, surely it’s too dangerous to be on our TV screens,” said the senator, who has been a long-time critic of Murdoch-owned media outlets.

The Senate committee has also called the nation’s chief medical officers to answer questions about the dangers posed by medical misinformation, she said.

AFP contributed to this story

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