Following Ofcom revoking CGTN’s license to broadcast in the UK, China has made a similar move against BBC World News, banning the channel from broadcasting in China.
Despite this, BBC World News is not widely available in China, except in some hotels. China has accused the BBC’s news coverage in China as being untruthful and unfair, claims which have been refuted by the BBC.
The move appears to be ‘tit for tat’, and is a sign of worsening tensions between the UK and China. Hong Kong’s RTHK government broadcaster has also removed the BBC World News channel.
UK regulator Ofcom has revoked the license held by Star China Media Limited (SCML) to broadcast Chinese news channel CGTN in the UK. They found SCML to be a distributor rather than provider, and as such had no editorial control over content so could not lawfully hold a license.
A license transfer to China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC) could not be processed as this was missing information. However, CGTNC is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and as political bodies are prohibited from holding licenses, this transfer would have likely have been rejected.
For viewers, this means the channel is no longer available on EPGs UK in the, with CGTN previously being available via Freeview and Sky. However, satellite viewers can still manually tune in the channel, as CGTN is still being broadcast and is un-encrypted.