Britain’s Office of Communication (Ofcom), the media regulator of the UK, has decided to revoke the license of China Global Television Network (CGTN), as the satellite news channel failed to fulfill the legal requirements put in place by Ofcom.
On the website, Ofcom explains that a legitimate license holder shall have total control of the service and shall not “be controlled by political bodies. ”
Star China Media Limited, the license holder of CGTN, admitted that they did not have the final say-so on the editorial tasks of CGTN earlier last year, but promised to restructure to meet the regulations set by Ofcom.
According to the latest investigation, no evident change has been made since that first assurance.
Ofcom also rejected CGTN’s last-ditch efforts to transfer its license to China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC), which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
“We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted” said a spokesperson from Ofcom.
The timing of the Ofcom decision also coincides with the publication of the latest BBC exclusive that unveils heinous cases of systematic rape and sexual abuse on Uyghur Muslim inmates in Xinjiang.
Chinese officials denied the coverage portrayed, claiming it to be “disinformation”, and alleged the BBC had made false accusations about Uyghur Muslims and Xinjiang.
“There are no so-called ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang Province. Those interviewees were merely the ‘puppet’ of the media” Chinese sources claimed.
The BBC says it stood by its accurate and fair reporting.
Not the first time
It is not the first time CGTN has been embroiled in China’s ideological fight against “the West.”
The channel has previously been listed as a foreign agent along with other Chinese state media by the U.S. government in 2019.
China pushed back following that judgement, and expelled 13 American journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post in response.
No offcial response was noted at time of typing, and only Hu Xijin, the highly controversial editor-in-chief of the hawkish Global Times, responded with his Twitter account, where he urged the British to stop bragging about freedom of the press and mocked the UK for its failure in dealing with the COVID-19.
It remains to be seen whether China will act similarly this time.