The broadcasting license of China Global Television Network, or CGTN has been revoked by regulators in the United Kingdom.
After an investigation “concluded that the license is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited”, the Chinese state-owned channel’s license had been withdrawn by it, said the UK media regulator Ofcom on Thursday.
“Editorial responsibility” for the channel’s output did not rest with Star China Media Limited and therefore “does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service,” Ofcom said. The regulator added that the role of Star was more of a distributor instead of the provider of content for the news channel.
An offer by CGTN of transferring the license to a new entity was also rejected by the regulators after it became assured that despite such as move, the Chinese Communist Party would still continue to control the contents and editorial policy of the news channel. That prompted the disqualification of the channel’s broadcasting license according to UK laws.
“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 license for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” an Ofcom spokesperson said.
Broadcasting of the channel on UK airwaves would be stopped with immediate effect. According to an Ofcom spokesperson, CGTN has the right to request a judicial review while also applying for another broadcasting license in the future.
The coverage of CGTN of the democracy protests in Hong Kong had breached impartiality standards repeatedly, Ofcom previously ruled. CGTN broadcasts news in English.
The Chinese news channel had violated impartiality standards across five separate broadcasts, the regulator had identified last year. The Channel had overemphasized the positions of government authorities in Hong Kong and China and did not care to get into the views or motivations of protesters.
On the issue of possible sanctions stemming from the violations, a decision is expected to be arrived at “shortly”, Ofcom said on Thursday.
“We have three other fairness and privacy investigations about content on the CGTN service which also remain ongoing, pending further consideration,” the regulator added.
The rules of Ofcom related to broadcasts that covered the arrest of corporate investigator Peter Humphrey in China had also been violated by CCTV News, as it was known then and was renamed as CGTN in 2016, the regulator also found.
The news channel broadcasts on the incident in 2013 and 2014 comprised of footage of Humphrey “appearing to confess to a criminal offense” which according to Ofcom “had the potential materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of him” and the channel had not given enough time to Humphrey to respond.
CGTN says it provides “global audiences with accurate and timely news coverage as well as rich audiovisual services, promoting communication and understanding between China and the world, and enhancing cultural exchanges and mutual trust between China and other countries.”
The Beijing, China headquartered CGTN operates three production centers in Nairobi, Kenya, Washington D.C. and London.
(Adapted from CNN.com)