British television channel BBC World News has been barred from airing in China, a week after Britain’s media regulator revoked Chinese state television’s licence to broadcast in the United Kingdom.
China’s National Radio and Television Administration said an investigation found BBC World News’ China-related reports had “seriously violated” regulations, including that news should be “truthful and fair”, had harmed the country’s national interests and undermined national unity.
The channel, therefore, did not meet requirements for foreign channels broadcasting in China and its application to air for another year would not be accepted, it said on Friday.
English-language BBC World News is not included in most TV channel packages in China but is available in some hotels and residences.
China’s move was condemned by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab and the US State Department, while the BBC said it was “disappointed”.
“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom,” Mr Raab said.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the decision, adding: “It’s troubling that as [China] restricts outlets and platforms from operating freely in China, Beijing’s leaders use free and open media environments overseas to promote misinformation.”
Earlier in February, China’s State Department said it was “deeply disturbed” by reports carried by the BBC of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
China denies accusations of abuses in Xinjiang and said the BBC report was “wholly without factual basis”.
The BBC said it was disappointed by China’s decision, adding 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”.
On February 4, British media regulator Ofcom revoked China Global Television Network’s licence to broadcast in Britain after an investigation found the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media.
China criticised the ruling as politicised and warned it reserved the right to make a “necessary response”.