BBC World News ban reasonable, says FM after CGTN ban in UK
Published: Feb 18, 2021 09:47 PM

BBC Beijing Bureau Photo: VCG

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that China's barring BBC World News is justified, reasonable and lawful in response to UK's revoking the license of Chinese news network CGTN, which was outrageous and unreasonable.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that after investigation by China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), the reports on China issues by BBC World News have seriously violated related regulations, violated the requirement that news should be true and fair, harmed China's national interests and undermined China's national unity, so the channel does not meet the conditions for foreign channels to air in China.

The NRTA will not accept BBC World News' application to operate in China in the new year, Hua said.

As people can see, BBC has repeatedly produced and reported fake news with a strong ideological bias against China, spreading false information on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and COVID-19 epidemic issues to attack and discredit China, Hua said.

She listed several examples. Since 2019, BBC always chose to ignore violence by rioters when covering Hong Kong issues, blaming "Hong Kong police brutality for the increasingly violent protests." On Xinjiang-related reports, BBC journalists based in Beijing only used a few non-real satellite pictures and the so-called reports of anti-China people to fabricate "lies of the century" to attack and smear Xinjiang. In reports related to the COVID-19 epidemic, the video of the anti-terrorism drill was even cited as "evidence" of China's violent anti-epidemic efforts.

She slammed the UK as hypocritical as it on the one hand touts freedom of the press while allowing its media to make false reports and hype the political nature of CGTN.

China is a country under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. This was the case when China and the UK established diplomatic relations in 1972, and it was the case when CGTN was established in the UK.

Hua said that the UK people have not avoided dealing with the Chinese people, nor have UK businesses refused doing business with Chinese companies, or has the UK government rejected cooperation with China on major international and regional issues because China is a country under the leadership of the CPC. Why is working with the Chinese media now a problem? Hua asked.

Hua's response came after Western media claimed that China's barring BBC World News is a countermeasure to the ban of CGTN in the UK. British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Thursday denounced the Chinese authorities' decision, saying it is "an unacceptable restriction on media freedom."

Hua said the UK's ban is a political crackdown on CGTN. As an international professional media organization, CGTN strictly abides by the laws and regulations of the UK and the professional ethics of journalism, and adheres to the principles of objectivity, fairness, truthfulness and accuracy in news reporting. CGTN is internationally recognized for its professionalism.

Over the past 18 years since its launch in the UK, CGTN has conducted good cooperation with the UK. It has played an important role in enhancing understanding and communication between the Chinese and British people, promoted cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, Hua said.

However, Ofcom, the UK media regulator, in February 2020, suddenly started proceedings to revoke CGTN's license for its English language news channel, citing the political nature of the channel, and that broadcast license holders cannot be controlled by political bodies.

Although this move went without justifiable reason, CGTN has shown great sincerity in fully cooperating with Ofcom's requests and seeking to resolve the issue in a constructive manner during the investigation, she added.

However, it was infuriating that Ofcom has repeatedly rejected China's suggestions and arbitrarily revoked the license of CGTN on February 4.

Facts have proven that this move was not a so-called technical problem from the beginning to the end, but a political suppression out of a strong ideological bias, Hua noted. 

China has always been open and welcoming to foreign journalists, including those from the UK, to report in China, and has provided convenience for them to work and live in China.

What China opposes is the ideological bias against China, the fabrication of news under the pretext of the so-called freedom of the press, and acts that violate the professional ethics of the press, Hua reiterated. 

China urges the UK to immediately stop political manipulation and correct its mistakes, said Hua, noting that the country reserves the right to make further justifiable and necessary responses.

Global Times