YouTube was put on the spot yesterday after it emerged that a popular political channel had been deleted without warning or explanation. The Novara media channel is a news and political channel allied to the left wing. It has an average of 64,000 views per day.
“We play an important public service role and regularly feature interviews with politicians, human rights campaigners, scientists and activists from around the world,” a statement from Novara said after the removal.
“We are also regulated by IMPRESS in the UK. We call on YouTube to immediately reinstate our account.”
Ash Sarkar, a media commentator and senior editor at Novara, defended the website’s output after the channel was deleted Tuesday morning. The channel regularly streams political interviews, podcasts and video content.
The deletion of Novara elicited an uproar online, with left wingers jumping to the channel’s defence.
“This is an attack on quality British journalism by an unaccountable American tech giant. You might not like our politics or our personalities, but the deletion of Novara’s account is a threat to everyone.”
The move elicited sharp reactions from politicians, journalists and political commentators who took to Twitter with the hashtag #ReinstateNovara.
YouTube reinstated the channel after a few hours, saying it had made a wrong call by removing the popular channel.
“Novara Media’s channel was briefly removed after it was flagged, but upon review, it was then immediately reinstated,” A YouTube spokesperson said.
Sources indicate that one of the videos on the channel was flagged by a user. However, the common practice for YouTube is to remove a flagged video, as opposed to deleting a channel, which is what happened in this case.
“We work quickly to review all flagged content, but with millions of hours of video uploaded on YouTube every day, on occasion we make the wrong call.” YouTube said.