Google's video streaming service YouTube has blocked North Korea's state television channel Korean Central Television, which broadcasts news from the country and is often considered a propaganda tool.
It appears as if the channel has been taken down not because of its content but because of the possibility that the North Korean government could earn money from it through advertising, the Washington Post said. This would be a violation of the sanctions imposed by the US in March, which forbids American companies from doing business with North Korea's Propaganda and Agitation Department. The Treasury Department determined that the agency was involved in censorship on behalf of the regime.
Google did not, however, state this reason officially and the head of communications in Asia for Google, Taj Meadows, said, "We don't comment on individual videos or channels, but we do disable accounts that violate our terms of service or community guidelines, and when we are required by law to do so."
On visiting the channel's landing page the message on a black screen reads, "This account has been terminated for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines."
YouTube's policies generally ban videos that include violent, sexual or harmful content, or breach copyright. In this case, however, it seems the channel was taken down as it may violate sanctions.
The ban will be a blow to researchers and journalists who closely follow the channel for news coming out of the isolated nation. It was known for broadcasting news on everything in North Korea from nuclear tests to leader Kim Jong-un's outings. After the January nuclear test, an announcer went live on the channel declaring that the country had tested a hydrogen bomb, although it was later disputed by scientists.