China bans BBC World News from airwaves after U.K. banned Chinese network

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BBC World News has been banned from airing in mainland China one week after the United Kingdom withdrew the broadcasting license for the state-sponsored China Global Television Network (CGTN) in an apparent tit-for-tat move from Beijing.

Last Friday, Ofcom, the U.K.’s media regulator, announced that it had revoked a license for CGTN to broadcast in the country.

The Global Times, an English-language newspaper in China, reported Friday local time that the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) has prohibited BBC World News from airing in the country, with the NRTA saying the channel had “infringed the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism.”

In a statement posted to Twitter Friday afternoon, the BBC said: “We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take 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.”

A spokesperson for the BBC told this reporter that they “were never allowed in mainland China and Chinese homes. They limited our distribution and also blacked out our reports on Chinese subjects, so BBC World News was only available in international hotels.”

According to Reuters, the NRTA issued a statement saying an investigation concluded that the British broadcaster’s reporting on China “seriously violated” regulations that news organizations be “truthful and fair.”

The Global Times referenced “biased” BBC reports about China, in particular the BBC’s coverage of the authoritarian regime’s detainment of more than a million Uighur Muslims at camps in the northwestern Xinjiang province. In a story last week, the British outlet reported that, according to a Uighur detainee, systemic rape and torture are prevalent at those camps, which China’s foreign ministry has denied.

China’s treatment of the minority group has drawn worldwide criticism. At the very end of his tenure last month, then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the regime’s actions against Uighurs as “genocide.”

“Chinese observers said the BBC has turned into ‘a rumor mill’ that deliberately throws mud at China, and the decision to suspend its broadcast sends a clear message that China doesn’t accept fake news,” The Global Times also wrote.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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