Update 6/11: Bloomberg now reports that the podcast player Castro has also been removed from the App Store.
Pocket Casts is one of the most popular podcast apps available for iOS and other platforms, but its developers have faced a difficult situation with Apple and China. The company has reportedly removed the Pocket Casts application from the Chinese App Store at the request of the local government.
According to the official Pocket Casts Twitter account, Apple has contacted the app team two days ago to inform that Pocket Casts would be removed from the App Store in China. The company has confirmed that the request was made by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which is the local government agency that controls what can be accessed on the Internet in the country.
As the Pocket Casts team points out that this is clearly censorship to prevent the Chinese from accessing the news, they will not respond to requests from the Chinese government to take down podcasts. Unfortunately, the Pocket Casts app is not expected to return to the App Store.
We understand this means that it’s unlikely that our iOS App will be available in China, but feel it’s a necessary step to take for any company that values the open distribution model that makes podcasting special.
This is not the first time that Apple has removed an app from the App Store following a request by the Chinese government. Last year, Apple pulled down the Quartz news app in China after a local government request, as the website has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail. Both the Quartz app and website are no longer available in China.
Apple usually stands up for human rights and freedom of speech, but the company has yet to comment on how it deals with the Chinese government, which has been extremely controversial.
Pocket Casts has been removed from the Chinese App store by Apple, at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China. We believe podcasting is and should remain an open medium, free of government censorship. As such we won't be censoring podcast content at their request.
— Pocket Casts (@pocketcasts) June 11, 2020
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