By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 6: China on Friday threatened to retaliate after China’s state TV channel China Global Television Network (CGTN) was stripped of its UK broadcasting license. The decision was made by British regulators citing technical issues but is linked with complaints about the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that British media watchdog Ofcom has acted upon “political grounds based on ideological bias, politicizing technical issues, seriously harming the survival of Chinese media and severely interfering with normal exchanges between the two countries.”
Wang urged UK to immediately retract the action out of “political motivation” and correct its mistakes, citing that China will make “the necessary response to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese media.” The decision by Ofcom on Thursday revoked the license for CGTN, often referred to as Chinese state mouthpiece, because of lack of editorial control and links to the CCP. “Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the license for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” it said.
The rights group Safeguard Defenders sent a complaint and called for an investigation to the British regulators. Ofcom continues to investigate a number of complaints of violations on fairness and accuracy, including the broadcasting of alleged forced confessions by a former British Consulate employee in Hong Kong and a British corporate investigator and long-time government critic, Gui Minhai, whose whereabouts are unknown.
In his defense of CGTN, Wang said the British knew its ties with China’s ruling party and accused London of double standards, “China is a socialist country led by the Communist Party. The British side has been well aware of the nature of the Chinese media.”