The BBC World Service has been banned from airing in China, a week after state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) had its broadcasting license revoked by Ofcom.
State news agency Xinhua said BBC World Service was found to show ‘serious content violations’. The broadcaster allegedly failed to be ‘true and impartial, and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity’.
Following the regulator’s decision, BBC World Service will not be able to air in China for another year at least. However the effect on consumers is unclear, as BBC News is not available in Chinese homes.
A week ago CGTN, a Chinese state broadcaster, had its license withdrawn by Ofcom, following an investigation. This means it will no longer be allowed to broadcast in the UK.
The Ofcom investigation concluded that CGTN is ‘controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’. UK broadcasting law requires the body that holds the broadcasting license to have editorial control over its content.
In a statement, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘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 & internet freedoms across the globe, & this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.’
China had already threatened retaliation over Ofcom’s decision to revoke CGTN’s license. This most recent move by Chinese regulators was therefore widely expected.