The conservative-leaning Epoch Times has been demonetized by YouTube, allegedly on the grounds that it had promoted material contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"YouTube demonetized the Epoch Times and related accounts last week," said publisher Stephen Gregory. "This is the latest example of big tech suppression of free speech, a step on the road to communist-style censorship."
YouTube acknowledged the decision on Tuesday, saying that the outlet had "repeatedly" violated its community guidelines.
The far left-wing watchdog Media Matters also ran an article on Tuesday criticizing the Epoch Times for its coverage of the presidential election.
"A network of associated YouTube channels promoted various 'Stop the Steal' events and right-wing election misinformation on the video sharing platform prior to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and they have downplayed the riots and obfuscated details about them since," said Media Matters.
The watchdog company also argued that the Epoch Times was started by Chinese religious dissidents from the Falun Gong spirituality movement "whose anti-Communist agenda lends itself to right-wing ideology and conspiracy theories."
The Epoch Times, however, says it is an independent business that, while it was indeed started by Falun Gong practitioners, "neither represents Falun Gong nor is owned by it."
"Beginning in the summer of 2000, the founders of The Epoch Times sought to pit honest, factual reporting — the truth insofar as they were able to discover it — against the lies, disinformation, and censorship of the Chinese Communist Party," said the company last fall. "They had a powerful reason for doing so: as Falun Gong practitioners, they were targets of the Party's latest round of religious persecution. Family, friends, and colleagues were endangered as the full weight of the communist state was brought against them."
Larry Elder, a well-known African-American conservative who runs a video series for the outlet, also commented on YouTube's demonetization decision.
"We have to build our own infrastructure, our own social media platforms. The only answer is not to b----, moan, and whine about how how unfairly we're being treated, not to run to the government to pass more regulations," said Elder. "The answer is to build our own platforms. And we have been asleep at the switch."