Beijing: The Chinese government’s television and radio regulator announced on Thursday that it is banning the BBC World News from broadcasting in the country, with immediate effect.
The reason behind this banning had been the BBCs reporting about China with regards to the coronavirus pandemic and the persecution of the Uighurs the ethnic Muslim minority by the Chinese authorities, the BBC reported.
The BBC said it was “disappointed” by this decision of the Chinese government.
This move by the Chinese government follows British media regulator Ofcom revoking state broadcaster China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence to broadcast in the UK.
Ofcom’s decision which was announced earlier this month came after it found that CGTN’s licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.
CGTN was also found in breach of British broadcasting regulations last year, for airing the allegedly forced confession of UK citizen Peter Humphrey.
China’s State Film, TV and Radio Administration said BBC World News reports about China were found to “seriously violate” broadcast guidelines, including “the requirement that news should be truthful and fair” and not “harm China’s national interests”. Therefore it said that the BBC’s application to air for another year in the country will not be accepted.
In China, the commercially-funded BBC World News TV channel broadcasts is largely restricted and appears only in international hotels and some diplomatic compounds, meaning most Chinese people cannot view it.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the move an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”, while the US State Department condemned the decision, calling it part of a wider campaign to suppress free media in China.
Relations between China and the UK have deteriorated in recent months over Hong Kong, where Beijing introduced a controversial new security law after a large pro-democracy movement swept the ex-colony and in turn in January the UK introduced a new visa that gives 5.4 million Hong Kong residents the right to live in the UK and eventually become citizens because it believes China is undermining the territory’s rights and freedoms.