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China bans BBC World News

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2021

Accuses news broadcaster of harming the country’s interests

The broadcasting regulator of China on Friday announced that it will ban the BBC from broadcasting its services in the country, accusing it of “harming China’s national interests” and “undermining its national unity.”

The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) of China has blocked BBC World News from broadcasting in the country. In its announcement (via New York Times), the broadcasting regulator said that the BBC had violated the relevant provisions of the “Regulations on the Administration of Radio and Television” and the “Measures for the Administration of the Landing of Overseas Satellite TV Channels.”

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China has criticised the BBC’s reporting on human rights issues and the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country along with the handling of Covid-19 in the country on multiple occasions, as per media reports.

The move comes shortly after British media regulator Ofcom revoked the licence of China’s CGTN (China Global Television Network) to broadcast in the UK, saying that it is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, New York Times reported. The move had been criticised by Beijing.

‘Curtailing media freedom’

The BBC said that it was “disappointed” at the move.

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“We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action,” the BBC said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.

“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,” it added.

UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab further criticised the move in a statement.

“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom. 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,” Raab said in an official statement.

‘Promoting misinformation’

Washington has also condemned the move.

“The PRC maintains one of the most controlled, most oppressive, least free information spaces in the world. It’s troubling that as the PRC restricts outlets and platforms from operating freely in China, Beijing’s leaders use free and open media environments overseas to promote misinformation,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters during a press briefing.

“We call on the PRC and other nations with authoritarian controls over their population to allow their full access to the internet and media,” added Price.

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Published on February 12, 2021
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