The British government on Thursday revoked the television license for China Global Television Network, citing the news organization’s affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party.
Ofcom, the British regulator, said that Beijing’s control of CGTN put the network in violation of its requirements that broadcasters not be controlled by “political bodies.”
Ofcom determined last year that CGTN had violated fair broadcasting requirements during its coverage of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has opposed the protests, which began in 2019 against a law supported by Beijing.
CGTN also operates in the U.S., with its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Justice Department required the outlet in 2018 to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act because of its affiliation with Beijing. The State Department designated the network a “foreign mission” last year, a designation similar to that of an embassy or consulate of a foreign government.
Ofcom says it allowed CGTN a chance in September to restructure itself in order to comply with U.K. regulations. But CGTN “failed to respond” to Ofcom’s inquiries and had not provided the regulator with an update about its restructuring plan.
We have revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence to broadcast in the UK, after our investigation concluded that the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd. (SCML).
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) February 4, 2021
CGTN blasted Ofcom’s decision on Thursday, calling it the result of “manipulation of far-right groups and anti-China forces.”
“CGTN English news channel is an internationalised media outlet with a good and professional reputation on a worldwide scope,” CGTN said, according to Barron’s.
CGTN’s U.S. and U.K. affiliates broadcast in English, and often tailor content to issues going on in those respective countries. CGTN America has conducted interviews with numerous American politicos, including Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for President Biden.
Sullivan criticized President Trump’s Middle East policy during an interview on CGTN America in late 2017.
CGTN also interviewed Neil Bush, a member of the Bush family political dynasty, in late 2019. Bush criticized protesters in Hong Kong, and questioned whether “outside forces” were stoking tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing.
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