China on Thursday, in a retaliatory move, banned the BBC World News from airing in China, a statement from China’s National Radio and Television Administration says.
This is coming a week after the UK withdrew the broadcasting license of China Global Television Network in the country over what it tagged an infringement of the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism.
China’s Foreign Ministry had on February 4 accused the BBC of airing fake news while also lodging a stern representation with the BBC criticizing the broadcaster for its coverage of China’s response to the COVID-19, an act that motivated Ofcom, a British media regulator to withdraw CGTN’s license in UK.
A BBC spokesperson 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 favour.”
Beijing has also repeatedly expressed its frustration with BBC reporting on China’s “re-education” camps for Uyghurs. The BBC alleges that women have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured at the camps. China accuses the BBC of having been on “a spree to spread explicit falsehoods about China’s policy in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The news outlet, at that time, responded that it would not bend its rule by reporting unfair or inaccurate events in China no matter whose toes it step on, stressing that it would defend the ethics of journalism.
It is unclear how much impact China’s ban of BBC World News would have in the country. The BBC have never been allowed to broadcast in mainland China or into Chinese homes. BBC World News was only ever been available in international hotels.
According to Britain Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, “China’s decision to ban the News outlet in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom.
“China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”