China's state broadcaster CGTN kicked out of UK raising fears of tit-for-tat response from Beijing
China’s state-owned broadcaster has had its licence to broadcast in the UK withdrawn.
TV regulator Ofcom launched an investigation into China Global Television Network (CGTN) last year.
It has now revoked its licence, under laws which state that any licensee must have editorial control of the programmes shown and must not be controlled by political bodies.
CGTN is an international, English-language satellite news channel.
Ofcom’s investigation concluded that Star China Media Limited (SCML), the licence-holder for the service, did not have editorial responsibility for the news channel’s output.
An application to transfer the licence to an entity called China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC) was denied.
This was because “crucial information was missing from the application, and because we consider that CGTNC would be disqualified from holding a licence, as it is controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Ofcom said.
It said it had given the satellite news channel “significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted.”
And “following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” it said in a statement.
In 2020, Ofcom found CGTN had breached the broadcasting code by failing to preserve due impartiality in its coverage of the Hong Kong protests.
The regulator is due to reach a decision about sanctions for the breach shortly.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “Our investigation showed that the licence for China Global Television Network is held by an entity which has no editorial control over its programmes.
“We are unable to approve the application to transfer the licence to China Global Television Network Corporation because it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not permitted under UK broadcasting law.
“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 licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK.”