NEW DELHI: China's broadcasting regulator has announced that it has pulled BBC World News off air, accusing the channel of flouting guidelines for reporting in the country. The action comes barely a week after Ofcom, the British media regulator, stated that it had revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) license to broadcast in the United Kingdom. The decision was linked to CGTN's affiliation with China's communist party, which violates UK law on state-backed ownership.
In a statement released on Thursday, China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) said BBC World News reports about China were found to "seriously violate" broadcast guidelines, including "the requirement that news should be truthful and fair" and not "harm China's national interests." The NRTA has also refused to accept BBC's new annual application for broadcast.
Broadcast news services like that of BBC and CNN are otherwise already restricted in China, due to its strict media censorship.
The British news service has issued a statement rejecting the accusations and stated that it is disappointed with the move. "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," a BBC spokeswoman told AFP.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab slammed the ban as "an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom."
The action has come in the wake of a controversial report that was aired on the channel on 3 February. It was a lengthy investigation based on witness testimonies reporting allegations of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture of women detainees by police and guards in China's Xinjian region which is home to the Muslim Uighur minority and has been facing security crackdown by Chinese forces.
The report has also triggered outrage from politicians across countries, including the US and Australia.