A television broadcasting war has broken out between the UK and China. Just days after the UK revoked the broadcasting license of Chinese state-backed network CGTN, Beijing has today retaliated by banning BBC World News.
According to CGTN, China’s National Radio and Television Administration said BBC World News “seriously violated regulations” after it “went against the requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial, and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity.”
Reuters journalists in China reported that the BBC World News channel has already gone dark in the country following the ruling. The English-language news service is restricted to broadcasting in international hotels in China and is not available in homes.
Chinese authorities have taken issue with the BBC’s reporting on the plight of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. State-backed Global Times said the broadcaster was responsible for a “slew of falsified reporting” on Xinjiang and China’s handling of Covid-19.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action. The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”
The action follows UK media regulator Ofcom effectively banning CGTN. 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.