In an apparent tit for tat move, BBC World News has been banned from airing in China, according to a statement from China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) on Thursday.
The announcement comes one week after Ofcom, the British media regulator, said it had withdrawn a license for China Global Television Network, or CGTN, to broadcast in the UK.
In the statement, China’s NRTA claimed that BBC World News had broadcast reports on China that “infringed the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism.”
On February 4, China’s Foreign Ministry lodged a stern representation with the BBC criticizing the broadcaster for its coverage of China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, dismissing their reports as “fake news.”
‘We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action. 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 spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business.
Beijing has also repeatedly expressed its frustration with BBC reporting on China’s “re-education” camps for Uyghurs. The BBC alleges that women have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured at the camps.
China accuses the BBC of having been on “a spree to spread explicit falsehoods about China’s policy in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The BBC defended its journalism in a statement at the time, saying they stand by their accurate and fair reporting of events in China. It is unclear how much impact China’s ban of BBC World News would have in the country.
The BBC have never been allowed to broadcast in mainland China or into Chinese homes. BBC World News was only ever been available in international hotels.
“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
“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.”