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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus Report: Some of Sky News Australia’s biggest stars have refused to weigh into the network’s decision to remove more than 30 videos from its platform featuring them criticising public health advice on unproven treatments for #COVID19 #AceHealthDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.14: Editors and hosts at Sky News have been furious over a seven-day ban from YouTube for breaching the tech giant’s #COVID19 misinformation policies, calling it an assault on free speech, censorship and an act of cancel-culture against conservatives…..

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Sky News hosts silent as the channel deletes unproven #COVID19 treatment videos but the News Corp controlled broadcaster remained silent on Tuesday over its decision to scrub videos from its website that promoted drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 and suggested there was a political agenda as to why it was not being used.

Sky News host Andrew Bolt would not weigh into the decision by his bosses to remove some of his videos from the channel’s website.
Sky News host Andrew Bolt would not weigh into the decision by his bosses to remove some of his videos from the channel’s website.

Presenters Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Rowan Dean featured prominently in a number of the videos, which have also been removed from the websites of News Corp publications The Daily TelegraphHerald SunThe Courier MailAdelaide Advertiser and news.com.au, where they had been cross-posted.

Bolt, who has labelled the YouTube ban “frightening”, declined to comment on his employer’s decision to expunge some of his videos, saying this masthead was “trying to cement dissent and dissension”.

“Whatever I say, it is not going to come out in any way, if The Sydney Morning Herald can help it, to our advantage,” Bolt said.

Dean, the co-host of Sky News show Outsiders, also declined to comment and referred The Herald and The Age’s questions to Sky News management.

“That side of things has nothing to do with me,” Dean said. “Thanks for your concern.”

Jones did not respond to a request for comment. Sky News also did not respond. However, a News Corp spokesman said the videos were removed automatically from its masthead’s websites following an “editorial decision” by Sky.

“Sky’s decision about how and when to run its videos is an editorial decision made by Sky News. As the owner of this content Sky’s decision to take those videos down means it automatically removes them from the network of sites where they appear, which includes our mastheads,” the spokesman said.

The mass deletion of content, first reported by Guardian Australia, comes as Sky News boss Paul Whittaker prepares to give evidence at a Senate inquiry into media diversity on Friday, which is examining YouTube’s decision to suspend the platform. Executives from YouTube and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a vocal critic of the Murdoch-owned outlets, will also give evidence.

Sky News has maintained YouTube did not clearly articulate the reasons for its suspension. Whittaker wrote to YouTube global chief executive Susan Wojcicki this week with his concerns, saying “YouTube’s editorial policies concerning COVID-19 are internally inconsistent, and incapable of compliance.”

The videos deleted by Sky include one from September 2020 titled “The jury is in on Hydroxychloroquine”. It features Bolt and Dean claiming studies show the drug is effective as a COVID-19 treatment but medical authorities were blocking Australians’ access to it.

“The medical authorities don’t want to admit they’ve kept from the Australian public something that is potentially a cure that could have saved lots of lives,” Bolt says.

Dean declares in the video “the jury is in and the jury says categorically hydroxychloroquine saves lives and Australians must be given access to this drug”.

In the video, Dean states that Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly should resign over his stance that hydroxychloroquine was not a proven treatment for COVID-19.

“Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly should be stood down immediately, he should hand in his resignation out of sheer embarrassment and following him should be Dr Nick Coatsworth,” Dean states.

In another video featuring Independent Federal MP Craig Kelly claiming Australians had been denied access to the drug, Jones states there has been “rank dishonesty” about the drug “and you have to ask whether there’s an agenda here”.

The Federal Health Department, on its website, said the use of hydroxychloroquine “is not recommended outside of randomised trials with appropriate ethical approval”.

Other videos featuring Jones questioning whether the pandemic is real and the use of lockdowns and face masks as public health measures to contain the virus have also been removed by Sky. In a since-deleted video from October 2020, Jones says the response to COVID has been based on “alarmism”.

“This is not a pandemic. It has never been a pandemic,” he tells viewers.

Jones made similar remarks in a video in May that led to the YouTube ban, claiming COVID-19 was not by definition a pandemic due to the number of deaths globally and that the death toll in India was not as bad as what the news had made out. The WHO designated COVID-19 a pandemic in March last year.

#AceHealthDesk report ………Published: Aug.14: 2021:

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