By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 16: BBC World News has been banned in China, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) China’s apex broadcasting body announced Thursday. The statement was issued one week after the British regulator Ofcom withdrew the license for China Global Television Network (CGTN) to be broadcasted in the UK. China’s NRTA said that BBC News had “infringed the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism” in its reports on China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Feb. 4 criticised BBC for its coverage of China’s response to the pandemic and called it “fake news”. BBC spokesperson said in a statement that the international news broadcaster is disappointed that Chinese authorities have taken 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 favor.”
The decision came a week after UK revoked the license of Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN, citing “lack of editorial responsibility” in the channel’s output. Ofcom had previously said that CGTN repeatedly breached impartiality standards with its coverage of protests in Hong Kong. However, it is unclear how much the ban will have an impact as it was never allowed to be broadcasted in mainland China or into Chinese homes; it was only ever available in international hotels.
However, the ban has also been imposed in Hong Kong as Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) announced on Friday that it would suspend airing BBC World Service and BBC News Weekly. “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 and internet freedoms across the globe and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.