China’s TV channel faces UK ban as complaints mount

China’s TV channel faces UK ban as complaints mount

  • Regulator Ofcom under growing pressure to block state-backed station for its broadcast of forced confessions

Britain’s broadcasting regulator is under mounting pressure to bar China’s state-owned TV channel from the UK’s airwaves after accusations that it has repeatedly breached impartiality rules and aired forced confessions.

There are currently three live investigations under way by Ofcom into China Global Television Network (CGTN), the country’s English-language news channel. The regulator has already ruled against the channel earlier this month, for airing a forced confession by the former British journalist Peter Humphrey. Labour is to raise alleged repeated breaches by the channel with Ofcom’s chief executive Melanie Dawes.

Ofcom has also received a complaint stating that CGTN should not be allowed to broadcast at all because it is effectively controlled by a political party. Human rights group Safeguard Defenders submitted its complaint earlier this year. Peter Dahlin, its director, said: “The best way forward is to revoke their licence to teach them that this is unacceptable. And then of course they can, according to the rules, reapply for a licence after that and restart the process.”

It comes amid increased tension with China, following Britain’s decision to strip equipment made by Chinese company Huawei out of the country’s phone networks by 2027. The decision came after a mounting backlash among Tory MPs about the company’s involvement in the 5G network. That decision led Chinese state media to warn of a “public and painful” retaliation. The state-run Global Times said in an editorial that China could not “remain passive”.