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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

China bans airing of already banned BBC News in tit-for-tat move

(TibetanReview.net, Feb12’21) – Following threats to punish Britain after its China Global Television Network (CGTN) was delicensed by its regulatory authority Ofcom for being in violation of the country’s ownership rules, China has on Feb 11 banned BBC New from the country. BBC New is, in fact, already inaccessible to the general Chinese population, as is the case with other major news channels from the West.

Ofcom’s decision earlier this month came after it found that CGTN’s licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd. It said the Chinese Communist Party oversaw the network’s editorial policy, a violation of a British law forbidding political bodies from controlling broadcast license holders.

On Feb 11, the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) said the BBC “was found to have seriously violated regulations on radio and television management” in its China-related reports, and “undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity.”

It accused the BBC of being responsible for what it called a “slew of falsified reporting” on issues including the treatment of the Uighur ethnic minority in the western Xinjiang region and China’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its response to the Chinese ban order, The BBC said in a statement: “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 BBC World News TV channel broadcasts globally in English. However, in China it is largely restricted and appears only in international hotels and some diplomatic compounds, meaning most Chinese people cannot view it.

Nevertheless, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called the Chinese move an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”.

And the US State Department has condemned the decision, calling it part of a wider campaign to suppress free media in China.

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