In a retaliatory move, China has banned BBC World News from airing in the country amid recent revocation of the British broadcasting license for China’s state-owned CGTN. In a statement on Friday, the National Radio and Television Administration noted BBC World News coverage of China had violated requirements that news reporting be true and impartial and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity, as per news agency AP. It is to be noted that BBC is not usually viewable in China outside of some hotels, businesses and residential compounds for foreigners. However, it is not clear whether the ban would impact reception in those facilities. Also Read: Split Among Protesting Farmers? Union Leaders Unhappy With Rakesh Tikait Saying Protest To Continue Only Till October 2nd
Why has China imposed ban?
The reporting by BBC has irked the Chinese authorities as the report by the foreign publication didn’t go down well on the coverage of Covid-19 pandemic in China and other issues including allegations of forced labor and sexual abuse in the Xinjiang region, home to the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.
“The channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel,” the Radio and Television Administration said, adding it would not accept BBC’s broadcast application for the next year, as per the AP report.
What’s UK reaction?
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the move “an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom” that would “only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.” On its part, Britain’s communications watchdog, Ofcom, revoked the license for CGTN, China’s English-language satellite news channel on Feb. 4. It cited links to China’s ruling Communist Party among the reasons.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the next day that Ofcom had acted on “political grounds based on ideological bias” and that China reserves the right to respond to protect the rights and interests of Chinese media. Losing its British broadcasting license was a major setback for CGTN. The channel has a European operations hub in West London and is part a government push to expand China’s soft power and burnish its image abroad.