The United Kingdom has strongly reacted to China’s move to pull BBC World News off the air for serious content violation. Calling it “unacceptable”, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called the ban “an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”.
The reaction from the UK government came after China’s broadcasting regulator announced on Thursday that it was pulling BBC World News off the air in the country for serious content violation.
The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) said BBC World News was found to have seriously violated regulations on radio and television management and on overseas satellite channel management in its China-related reports, which went against the requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity, according to Xinhua news agency reported.
The regulator said in a statement that “As the channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel, BBC World News is not allowed to continue its service within Chinese territory. The NRTS will not accept the channel’s broadcast application for the new year.”
UK Foreign Secretary said, “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.”
The BBC too said that it was “disappointed” with the move, which applies to mainland China, where the channel is already censored and restricted to international hotels.
A BBC spokeswoman said, “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.”
Meanwhile, Britain has also banned Chinese telecoms group Huawei from involvement in its 5G network after the United States raised spying fears. In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the ban on BBC and called on China to allow an “informed citizenry” that can freely exchange ideas.
The BBC has recently aired a hard-hitting documentary accusing China of covering up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic around the city of Wuhan in late 2019. It aired its report detailing harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence against Uighur women in Chinese camps on February 3.