China on Friday barred British television channel BBC World News from airing in the country, a week after United Kingdom’s media regulator revoked broadcasting licence of Chinese state-owned channel CGTN, Reuters reported.
China’s National Radio and Television Administration said in a statement that BBC World News’ coverage of the country had “seriously violated” regulations, including that news should be “truthful and fair,” and had harmed the its national interests and undermined national unity.
The statement added that BBC World News does not meet requirements for foreign channels broadcasting in China and its application to air for another year would not be accepted, according to Reuters.
The channel was already not available in China outside of some hotels, businesses and residential compounds for foreigners and it was not immediately clear if the ban would affect reception in those facilities, the AP reported.
BBC responded to the decision saying that it was “disappointed that the Chinese authorities have to take this course of action”. The broadcaster asserted that it reported “fairly, impartially and without fear or favour”.
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also criticised the move and termed it as an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”.
“China has some of the most severe restrictions on media & internet freedoms across the globe, & this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world,” he tweeted.
On February 4, British media regulator Ofcom revoked the licence for China Global Television Network, or CGTN as it is better known, to broadcast in the United Kingdom after an investigation found the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd, Reuters reported. Ofcom had cited that CGTN had links with China’s ruling Communist Party, according to AP.
However, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had said that Ofcom acted on “political grounds based on ideological bias” and that China reserves the right to respond to protect the rights and interests of its media. The Chinese government has also criticised recent BBC reports on the coronavirus pandemic and on allegations of forced labour and sexual abuse in the Xinjiang region, home to the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.