Under UK broadcasting laws, organizations that hold broadcasting licenses may be state-funded, but must not be controlled by political bodies.
Following a months-long investigation, Ofcom concluded that license holder Star China Media Limited did not have control over China Global Television Network’s editorial output.
Ofcom gave CGTN time to transfer its license to China Global Television Network Corporation, but the regulator was not satisfied that this new entity would be free from political meddling, not least because it is controlled by CCTV.
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“Given the revocation of a broadcast licence is a significant interference with a broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression, we considered it appropriate to allow CGTN a reasonable period of time to come into compliance,” Ofcom said.
“An application to transfer the licence to CGTNC was submitted in September 2020. However, we were unable to properly assess it. Crucial information was missing from the application, while the restructure that CGTN had signalled had not, and still has not, taken place.”
Ofcom has previously found that CGTN was in breach of the UK’s broadcasting code after it failed to be impartial in its coverage of the Hong Kong protests.
A spokesperson said: “Our investigation showed that the licence for China Global Television Network is held by an entity which has no editorial control over its programmes. We are unable to approve the application to transfer the licence to China Global Television Network Corporation because it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not permitted under UK broadcasting law.
“We’ve provided CGTN with numerous opportunities to come into compliance, but it has not done so. We now consider it appropriate to withdraw the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK.”
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