After having its YouTube channel suspended for one week and facing a government inquiry, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News Australia has taken down videos that include COVID-19 disinformation both on YouTube and its own site.
On Sunday, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd posted screencaps of pages on the Sky News Australia website of videos that had been taken down and replaced with a “page not found” notice.
“Murdoch is quietly scrubbing incriminating Covid-19 misinformation videos from websites ahead of a grilling by the Senate on Friday,” Rudd tweeted. “Dozens of videos have vanished with no correction or apology for spreading dangerous lies.”
The titles of the deleted videos match those that Guardian Australia and other local outlets reported were taken down from the news network’s YouTube channel after it received a one-week suspension for violating the site’s rules regarding COVID-19 misinformation.
Many of the videos that were taken down came from the right-wing commentary show “Outsiders” and included false claims about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, which former President Donald Trump promoted as a treatment for the virus despite no supporting scientific evidence.
Among the titles of the deleted videos are “Systemic discouragement of Hydroxychloroquine is a ‘national scandal” and “Leftist media ‘willing to have lives lost’ as a result of hatred for Trump,” a video in which the “Outsiders” hosts claimed that Trump’s critics were endangering the public by opposing hydroxychloroquine.
Reps for Sky News Australia did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Sky News Australia was summoned to the government inquiry taking place this Friday along with YouTube, Google and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to answer questions regarding the deleted videos and the channel suspension, as well as why ACMA has left it to Silicon Valley companies to take action against COVID-19 misinformation.
“Many people are asking why it takes a tech company to hold Murdoch’s News Corp’s dissemination of Covid misinformation and conspiracy theories to account,” inquiry chair Sarah Hanson-Young told The Guardian. “Where is the public media regulator in all this?”