YouTube blocks North Korean channel to avoid breaching sanctions


SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—YouTube has blocked North Korea’s state television channel, which broadcasts news on everything from nuclear tests to Kim Jong Un’s outings, to avoid breaching American sanctions against the defiant regime.The action was apparently taken not because of the content in the channel but because the North Korean regime could earn money from it through advertising.“This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines,” a message on the Korean Central Television channel’s page reads.YouTube’s community guidelines ban videos that include violent, sexual or harmful content, or breach copyright. Google also asks users to flag content on that may violate the law.The Washington Post understands that Google, YouTube’s parent company, blocked the channel last month to avoid breaching sanctions, but the company has so far declined to comment.Article Continued Below“We don’t comment on individual videos or channels,” said Taj Meadows, head of communications in Asia for Google, “but we do disable accounts that violate our terms of service or community guidelines, and when we are required by law to do so.”Under sanctions imposed in March this year, the Treasury department designated North Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department for engaging in censorship on behalf of the North Korean authorities. The measures ban any American company or person from doing business with the department.Joshua Stanton, a lawyer and keen proponent of sanctions who writes the One Free Korea blog, said that YouTube and Google probably realized there was a problem with money changing hands.

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