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UK News

Google blocks Premier Christianity magazine from app store over coronavirus coverage

by Marcus Jones

The digital version of Premier Christianity magazine is being prevented from being published via the Google Play Store because of it's references to Covid 19.

A digital version of the publication has been available outside of the UK, but the most recent issues have been blocked from upload.

In a note to Premier Christianity, Google said: "Apps referencing COVID-19, or related terms, in any form will only be approved for distribution on Google Play if they are published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations."

The most recent issue tells stories of how different church leaders are feeling about lockdown and also features several stories about how churches have responded to the pandemic.

After uploading its most recent editions to Google Play, Premier Christianity magazine was told, "Apps referencing COVID-19, or related terms, in any form will only be approved for distribution on Google Play if they are published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations."

Responding to the ban, editor Sam Hailes said: "Magazines must be free to report on coronavirus.

"For Google to demand that a magazine must be 'authorised' by a government before being allowed on its platform, is completely inappropriate and wrong."

"In our recent editions, we've been celebrating the huge surge in the number of people attending church online, as well as praising Christian key workers and publishing thoughtful theological essays on grief and death. None of that content is in danger of misleading the public, despite what Google seems to think."

"While I welcome attempts to clamp down on fake news, this latest action from Google goes a long way beyond that. The tech giant appears to be preventing magazines like ours from covering the most important news story of our generation."

The magazine's app is currently available on Apple devices.

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