The UK’s Office of Communications on Thursday, Feb. 4, canceled the broadcast license of a Chinese media company on the grounds that it was controlled by the Communist Party of China (CCP).
The regulator Ofcom found that the licensee did not have editorial control over state-owned China Global Television Network (CGTN), detailing that the English-language satellite news channel was run by the CCP.
CCP in charge of Star China Media
Star China Media Limited, the company holding the license in the UK, was not in charge of editorial responsibility. UK law states that companies with broadcasting licenses must have control of their service and cannot be controlled by political bodies.
According to the Independent, an application to transfer the license to CGTN was denied because “crucial information was missing from the application and because the company” “is controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Missing info on license application
“We’ve provided CGTN with numerous opportunities to come into compliance, but it has not done so. We now consider it appropriate to withdraw the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” said an Ofcom representative.
As Newsmax pointed out, CGTN was among the Chinese state media that were designated by the United States in March last year as “foreign missions” of the CCP.
Newsmax detailed that last year Ofcom blamed CGTN for two major breaches of UK policy, including a lack of impartiality in the Chinese state media’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests.
Investigations into CGTN
According to Ofcom, a decision on penalties for the breach will be made soon. The regulator further said that three other fairness and privacy investigations into the content of the CGTN service are currently underway.
The Independent stated that after Ofcom implemented the sanctions, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying it had issued “stern representations” to the BBC demanding it apologize for making “fake news” coverage of the CCP Virus (COVID-19).
A spokesman for the bureau stated that the BBC had recently “linked the pandemic to politics” and “rehashed theories about covering up by China.”
The BBC responded, “We stand by our accurate and fair reporting of events in China and totally reject these unfounded accusations of fake news or ideological bias.”
Peter Humphrey and MP Knight comments on license revoked
Speaking to NPR, private investigator Peter Humprey noted, “Thank God, finally, this license has been taken away. Considering the kind of brutal human rights violations CGTN has been involved in, extracting and packaging forced confessions from prisoners under torture in China who have never been in front of a judge, I don’t think we should have such an organization on our soil.”
Meanwhile, Julian Knight MP, who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said, “Today’s ruling is confirmation that the Chinese Communist Party is the ultimate controller of its broadcasts, which is not permitted under UK law.”
“It should be seen as a strong warning that the power to broadcast carries with it responsibility and accountability. Failing this bar will not be tolerated,” he added.