Google has banned Sky News Australia from uploading content to YouTube for one week after the news platform allegedly breached its rules on spreading so-called 'Covid misinformation'.

According to the channel, the videos that provoked the censorship included  'debates around whether masks were effective and whether lockdowns were justified when considering their adverse health outcomes'.  

And it cited its commentators who argue 'masks are not effective in containing outbreaks, particularly when mandated outside in the fresh air' and take issue with 'the frequency and mechanisms of locking down Australians.' 

It pointed out the science on both of these points is not settled. 

While studies published by the Lancet suggest a mask stops up to 80 per cent of droplets from being released into the air, researchers in Denmark found there was no statistically significant difference in the number of people who contracted Covid while wearing masks in public compared to without. 

The move comes as Australia's 'Zero Covid' strategy that aims to completely eliminate the virus shows signs of buckling.   

Professor Bruce Robinson, chairman of Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council, admitted that the nation's chance of successfully eliminating the Indian Covid variant was 'close to zero'.  

He said: 'The chance of eliminating this is close to zero - there are many people I have spoken to who share that view. We might suppress it but we will be really unlikely to eliminate it and that's because we see people who are clearly infectious without knowing it and they're out and about.'

YouTube's move followed a review of posts uploaded by the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV channel, which allegedly posted material that 'could cause real-world harm' to its 1.86 million YouTube subscribers.

YouTube said it had 'clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance'. A spokesman told MailOnline today that it 'did not allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19' or which encouraged people 'to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus'.  

Sky News Australia said it had found old videos that did not comply with YouTube's policies and took its 'commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously'. 

However, it denied any of its hosts had ever denied the existence of Covid and its reporters warned the move was an attack on press freedom. The ban could affect Sky News Australia's revenue stream from Google. 

Its posts, including some questioning whether there is a pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines, are widely shared on social media forums around the world that spread virus and vaccine misinformation.

Google has banned Sky News Australia from uploading content to YouTube for one week after the news platform allegedly breached its rules on spreading so-called 'Covid misinformation' (stock0

Google has banned Sky News Australia from uploading content to YouTube for one week after the news platform allegedly breached its rules on spreading so-called 'Covid misinformation' (stock0

Bondi Beach, Sydney: Police check IDs to ensure visitors to the beach meet the exercise radius stipulated in lockdown directives

Bondi Beach, Sydney: Police check IDs to ensure visitors to the beach meet the exercise radius stipulated in lockdown directives

Just 17 per cent of adults in the country have been vaccinated, and now Sydney's five million inhabitants are under a strict stay-at-home order due to a worrying surge of nearly 3,000 infections since the middle of June

Just 17 per cent of adults in the country have been vaccinated, and now Sydney's five million inhabitants are under a strict stay-at-home order due to a worrying surge of nearly 3,000 infections since the middle of June

The last YouTube upload, from three days ago, features a host claiming that lockdowns have failed and criticising state authorities for extending Sydney's current shutdown measures.

Sky News Australia confirmed the temporary ban and a spokesperson said 'we support broad discussion and debate on a wide range of topics and perspectives which is vital to any democracy'.

'We take our commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously,' they added.

Comments by veteran Sky presenter Alan Jones have triggered debate in Australia. In one July 12, broadcast with MP Craig Kelly, both men claimed Delta was not as dangerous as the original and vaccines would not help. Sky News website issued an apology.

Sydney radio host Ray Hadley said Mr Jones's performances had 'allowed conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers... to gain support from a minority who think the virus is nothing more than a dose of flu'. Australia's Daily Telegraph last week ended the column Mr Jones wrote for it.

In an article on the Sky News Australia website, digital editor Jack Houghton said that if conversation about Australia's Covid policies were stifled 'our political leaders will be free to act with immunity, without justification and lacking any sufficient scrutiny from the public'.

He wrote: 'Sky News Australia has been temporarily suspended from posting on the Google-owned platform YouTube for publishing opinion content the tech giant disagrees with.

'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.

'The stance taken by some commentators at this network was that masks are not effective in containing outbreaks, particularly when mandated outside in the fresh air. Some also took issue with the frequency and mechanisms of locking down Australians. Other commentators vehemently disagreed, and their views were also published. The science is certainly not clear on either of these two points.' 

He added: 'If YouTube's COVID-19 misinformation policy was around in the early days of the pandemic, people would be banned for criticising China's transparency, saying the virus seems to be airborne or calling for limitations on international travel.

'No one body should have that power - let alone an organisation with such a poor track record. Even more concerning is what this does to the freedom of debate and conversation.

'You have a right to debate Australia's COVID-19 policies. Science, and the government's response to that science, are two very different things. If that conversation is stifled our political leaders will be free to act with immunity, without justification and lacking any sufficient scrutiny from the public.

'Your freedom to think will be extinguished.'

YouTube has a 'three strikes' policy on violations, with the first resulting in a one-week suspension, a second strike within 90 days producing a two-week ban, while a third means permanent removal from the platform. Former US president Donald Trump was temporarily banned under the policy.     

A YouTube spokesman told MailOnline: 'We have clear and established COVID-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

'We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, 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.'

In Australia, people are being ordered away from beaches by police helicopters as the country's lockdown continues, and a top doctor warned there is a 'close to zero' chance of eliminating the Delta variant of Covid and the AstraZeneca jab must be used to quell surging cases.

While Covid cases in the UK have fallen week-on-week for ten days in a row amid a lifting of restrictions and hopes that the pandemic could be shrinking, the situation is quite different in Austrialia, where armed forces and thousands of police officers are now enforcing the country's 'Zero Covid' lockdown.

Just 17 per cent of adults in the country have been vaccinated, and now Sydney's five million inhabitants are under a strict stay-at-home order due to a worrying surge of nearly 3,000 infections since the middle of June.

Streets around the Coogee and Bondi beaches were packed with locals as thousands made the most of the 25C heat, despite pleas from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to stay at home, prompting police to call in air support to order people off the sand. 

'Nearly 1000 people were spoken to, ensuring they were complying with the LGA requirement,' said a NSW Police spokesman. 'Officers were also enforcing QR codes at large retailers at Maroubra, Bondi and Eastgardens.'

For weeks, Ms Berejiklian has been begging Sydneysiders to only leave their home for essentials like exercise, shopping, vital work or getting vaccinated.

'Assume that you have the virus, or that people you come into contact with have the virus,' she has repeatedly told the state. We can't afford to have people who have the virus going about their business.'

Earlier this week the former leader of Britain's Conservative Party, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, said there were 'some scientists' who wanted no restrictions to be lifted until there was 'zero Covid'.

The move followed a review of posts uploaded by the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV channel, which allegedly posted material that 'could cause real-world harm' to its 1.86 million YouTube subscribers

The move followed a review of posts uploaded by the Rupert Murdoch-owned TV channel, which allegedly posted material that 'could cause real-world harm' to its 1.86 million YouTube subscribers

Police officers check ID cards of people walking in the CBD in order to prevent an anti-lockdown protest, during lockdown in Sydney, Australia

Police officers check ID cards of people walking in the CBD in order to prevent an anti-lockdown protest, during lockdown in Sydney, Australia

Streets around the world famous beaches of Coogee (pictured) and Bondi were packed with locals making the most of the wintry sun which saw temperatures ride above 25C

Streets around the world famous beaches of Coogee (pictured) and Bondi were packed with locals making the most of the wintry sun which saw temperatures ride above 25C

He told the Telegraph newspaper: 'The Government is constantly being assailed by scientists whose forecasts seem to be around fulfilling a purpose, keeping us in lockdown.

'We are in a state of unreality, it's as though we don't need an economy, we don't need to meet each other, we don't need to do anything that makes life worthwhile. But we do.'

Professor Robinson, who is spearheading a 'second opinion' signed by some of the country's top medical practitioners, recommending everybody get AstraZeneca, believes all restrictions on that version of the jab should be scrapped because there are not enough doses of Pfizer to go around.

'This virus is spreading and there's probably no stopping it,' Professor Robinson told the Herald Sun .

The head of Australia's top medical research organisation said the ruling by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation was 'wrong' and needs to be changed 'ASAP'.

He explained the vaccine got a 'really bad rap' and the ATAGI advice was only appropriate for a time when Covid outbreaks were under control. The professor said he believed there was now a 'groundswell of medical opinion which feels ATAGI's advice was wrong and that it needs to be publicly changed'.

He said this would encourage more Australians to get jabbed as the highly contagious variant continues to spread through Sydney and now Queensland. 

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