CHINA’s state-owned broadcaster has been zapped from British screens amid a row over the influence of the increasingly isolated Communist regime in Beijing.
TV regulator Ofcom revoked China Global Television Network’s right to broadcast after a year long probe into political influence on the station.
The move follows a £200,000 fine for Kremlin-backed Russia Today for biased broadcasting in 2019.
And it comes amid growing tension between the UK and the super state over Hong Kong, genocide claims and truth behind the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ofcom ruled that the English-language news channel’s owners Star China Media Limited were not in control of its editorial output, and rejected an attempt to change owners amid the row.
The quango said on Thursday that the company was “ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
They insisted that they had given the channel “significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules” but “those efforts have now been exhausted.”
In a statement they said: “following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK.”
In 2020, Ofcom found CGTN had breached the broadcasting code by failing to preserve due impartiality in its coverage of the Hong Kong protests.
‘THE RIGHT MOVE’
Last night the move was welcomed by anti-China voices as a victory against “propaganda.”
Conservative MP Bob Seeley of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China said it was “the right move.”
He added: “It cannot be correct that an arm of a regime that doesn’t recognise rights to freedom of speech at home is allowed to break UK laws in order to peddle its propaganda on the airwaves.”
And Foreign policy think-tank the Henry Jackson Society told HOAR: “The days of Beijing’s genocide-denying, democracy-trampling propaganda are over.”
They added: “The Communist commissars should have no voice on our airwaves. The only question is why it took so long for Ofcom to act.”
And the boss of the Commons media committee Julian Knight welcomed the decision as “a strong warning” to others.
“Today’s ruling is confirmation that the Chinese Communist Party is the ultimate controller of its broadcasts which is not permitted under UK law.
“CGTN had already breached broadcasting codes with a forced confession, and failure on impartiality over coverage of the Hong Kong protests.
The Tory MP went on: “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.”
An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “Our investigation showed that the licence for China Global Television Network is held by an entity which has no editorial control over its programmes.
“We are unable to approve the application to transfer the licence to China Global Television Network Corporation because it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not permitted under UK broadcasting law.
“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.”