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China Bans BBC World News in Retaliation over Ban on CGTN in UK

China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) banned British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) World News for violating regulations. The move is seen as a retaliation over the UK’s decision to cancel the license of China’s state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN) earlier in February.

Chinese broadcasting authority has accused BBC of biased reporting over COVID-19 and the situation in Xinxiang. In a statement released early on February 12, China’s National Radio and Television Administration said BBC violated regulations that news reports should be “truthful and fair.” 

UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said this move will further damage China’s reputation in the world.

“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is 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 said on twitter.

China has accused the UK of practicing double standards when it comes to freedom of press.

“The British side on one hand talks about the freedom of press, but on the other hand intervenes in the broadcasting of CGTN, which is blatant double standards and political suppression,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin earlier in February.

Earlier in February, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) in the UK cancelled the licence of English-language news channel China Global Television Network (CGTN). Ofcom alleged that editorial control of the CGTN is with Chinese Communist Party and not with the one holding license. “Licence holders cannot be controlled by political bodies,” said Ofcom.

CGTN is operated by China Central Television (CCTV) which falls under the Chinese Communist party’s Publicity Department.

China’s Xinhua news agency carried a commentary  calling “BBC factory of fake news.”

“The most fundamental principle of news coverage is objectivity and facts-based reporting, but the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has degenerated into a factory of fake news on China,” said the article.

The article further added,“China welcomes all foreign media organizations as long as they can exercise journalistic professionalism and tell the world real stories about the country and its people. The ban on BBC sends out a clear signal that days are officially over when Western media outlets can feel free to smear China without facing consequences.”

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) also announced it will suspend relay of the BBC World News from February 13.

The United States has condemned the ban over BBC. In a press briefing held on February 12, US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said, “We absolutely condemn China’s decision to ban BBC World News. China maintains one of the most controlled, most oppressive, least free information spaces in the world.”