YouTube shuts down pro-Syrian government channels

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YouTube has suspended the accounts of at least three media outlets run by the Syrian government, weeks after a report claimed the channels were violating US sanctions and generating revenue from ads.

The video streaming giant appeared to suspend the accounts of Syria’s public international news organisation, SANA, the Ministry of Defence and the Syrian Presidency.

All three accounts appeared on Monday with a message, which read: “This account has been terminated due to a legal complaint,” or “This account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

YouTube removed four Syrian state-run channels, including the account for the Presidency which now displays the above message.

YouTube spokesperson says that “YouTube complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws — including with respect to content created and uploaded by restricted entities. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, we disable it.”

The Damascus-based Sana TV’s channel also appeared to be taken down, with a message reading: “This page isn’t available. Sorry about that. Try searching for something else.”

The move comes just weeks after online news website TomoNews revealed the government-run accounts were generating advertising revenue in violation of US sanctions.

US sanctions prohibit American companies from providing services to Syria without obtaining a licence from the Treasury Department, according to the report.

Syria is in the middle of bloody civil war that has raged since 2011 and claimed more than 500,000 lives.


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