One America News Network (OAN) responded to its suspension and demonetization on Youtube over a video that the video-sharing platform said violated its policies surrounding COVID-19.
“YouTube took the extreme action of censoring a national cable news network for a video that was 'unlisted' and not available publicly on YouTube. OAN has been flooded with comments from viewers thanking OAN for its reporting and encouraging us not to be intimidated by Google," OAN President Charles Herring said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.
"Although OAN will abide by YouTube’s requirements for any video made available on YouTube, OAN will not let YouTube’s arbitrary rules infringe upon its First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public."
YouTube did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times' request for response over OAN's statement that the status of the video in question was "unlisted."
YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in a statement to The Epoch Times that the video from OAN was removed under YouTube's policies about COVID-19 misinformation, which prohibits reporting that there is a guaranteed "cure" to the virus. Due to "repeated violations" of the policy and other channel monetization policies, the outlet has been suspended from posting new videos or livestreams for a week.
"Since early in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube. After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there’s a guaranteed cure," the statement read.
"Additionally, due to repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies, we've suspended the channel from the YouTube Partner Program and as a result, its monetization on YouTube."
The OAN president told The Epoch Times late Tuesday that the video was not made public on YouTube and was unlisted on the platform "for review by internal OAN staff only."
"This fact was provided by OAN to YouTube. The video is available for viewing at www.oann.com," Herring told The Epoch Times.
"It’s our understanding that YouTube only recognizes two authorities for COVID-19, namely the CDC and local county health experts. We believe that the opinions of frontline doctors should also be heard, regardless if their views agree or differ from the CDC," the OAN statement read. "Highly qualified doctors have more meaningful expertise than YouTube moderators. YouTube requires a warning label if interviewed medical experts deviate from the CDC’s latest thinking, which is, frequently subject to change. To date, OAN has interviewed over fifty medical doctors that have successfully treated in excess of 6,000 COVID patients."
"Recovered patients have credited administered treatments for saving their lives. OAN has highlighted therapeutics in use, from convalescent plasma to hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that showed anecdotal evidence of success, yet didn’t receive proper study."
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were approved decades ago for use against ailments including autoimmune diseases and malaria. The drug was used early during the pandemic in treatment of patients with COVID-19 and doctors around the world asserted that it, combined with other drugs and supplements, worked against the disease.