BEIJING (Reuters) – China barred Britain’s BBC World Information from its tv networks on Friday and Hong Kong’s public broadcaster stated it might cease relaying BBC World Service radio, every week after Britain revoked Chinese language state tv’s broadcast licence.
China’s Nationwide Radio and Tv Administration stated BBC World Information’ experiences on China had “significantly violated” a requirement to be “truthful and honest”, harmed China’s pursuits and undermined nationwide unity.
Radio Tv Hong Kong (RTHK), the publicly funded broadcaster within the former British territory, stated it was suspending the relay of BBC radio information programming.
The International Correspondents’ Membership of China (FCCC) stated it appeared that China was making an attempt to drive international media to observe the Chinese language authorities line, whereas China’s embassy in London accused the BBC of “relentless fabrication”.
RTHK’s Radio 4 (R4) station had carried BBC World Service radio for eight hours every evening and the R1 station had carried a one-hour BBC programme as soon as every week.
The non-public Hong Kong platforms Cable TV and Now TV had been nonetheless carrying BBC World Information as of Friday.
Earlier than the ban, BBC World Information had not been included in most TV packages in mainland China, however had been out there in some accommodations and houses.
Two Reuters journalists in Beijing discovered that the channel had disappeared.
The BBC, which is a public company, stated it was “the world’s most trusted worldwide information broadcaster and experiences on tales from around the globe pretty, impartially and with out concern or favour”.
British international minister Dominic Raab known as the ban “an unacceptable curbing of media freedom”, including:
“China has among the most extreme restrictions on media and web freedoms throughout the globe, and this newest step will solely injury China’s status within the eyes of the world.”
China’s embassy in London responded with a stinging assertion, attributed to an unnamed spokesperson:
“BBC’s relentless fabrication of ‘lies of the century’ in reporting China runs counter to the skilled ethics of journalism, and reeks of double requirements and ideological bias,” it stated.
“The so-called ‘media freedom’ is nothing however a pretext and disguise to churn out disinformation and slanders towards different nations.”
RTHK’s choice underlines how Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong extends to media.
Final yr, when Beijing expelled a few dozen journalists working for U.S. information retailers, it additionally barred them from relocating to Hong Kong.
RTHK, based in 1928 and generally in contrast with the BBC, is the one impartial, publicly funded media outlet on Chinese language soil and has a constitution guaranteeing editorial independence.
It had angered each the Hong Kong authorities and Beijing with its protection of anti-government protests that shook town in 2019.
U.S. State Division spokesman Ned Worth informed a daily briefing on Thursday that it was “troubling that as (China) restricts retailers and platforms from working freely in China, Beijing’s leaders use free and open media environments abroad to advertise misinformation”.
This month, the State Division stated it was “deeply disturbed” by a BBC report of systematic rape and sexual abuse towards girls in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and different Muslims in China’s Xinjiang area.
China denies accusations of abuses in Xinjiang and stated the report was “wholly with out factual foundation”.
The FCCC famous the reasons for the ban, particularly the accusations of harming Chinese language nationwide pursuits and undermining nationwide unity.
“The FCCC is anxious that such language is meant to ship a warning to international media working in China that they might face sanctions if their reporting doesn’t observe the Chinese language social gathering line about Xinjiang and different ethnic minority areas,” it stated in a press release.
On Feb. 4, the British media regulator Ofcom revoked China International Tv Community’s (CGTN) licence after an investigation discovered the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.
China stated the ruling was political, and reserved the fitting to make a “needed response”.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Tom Daly; extra reporting by Man Faulconbridge and William James in London, Tony Munroe in Beijing, David Brunnstrom in Washington, and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Enhancing by Catherine Evans, Toby Chopra and Lincoln Feast.)