BEIJING (Reuters): China barred Britain’s BBC World News from airing on Friday and Hong Kong’s public broadcaster said it was dropping the channel, a week after Britain’s media regulator revoked Chinese state television’s UK broadcast licence.
China’s National Radio and Television Administration said an investigation found BBC World News’ China-related reports had “seriously violated” regulations, including that news should be “truthful and fair”, had harmed China’s interests and undermined national unity.
The channel, therefore, did not meet requirements for foreign channels broadcasting in China and its application to air for another year would not be accepted, it said.
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), the publicly funded broadcaster in the former British territory, said separately on Friday it was suspending the relay of BBC news programming from Friday, following Beijing’s decision.
English-language BBC World News is not included in most TV channel packages in mainland China, but is available in some hotels and homes.
Two Reuters journalists in Beijing said the channel had gone blank on their screens.
British foreign minister, Dominic Raab, and the US State Department condemned China’s decision.
“China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom,” Raab said.
“China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe, and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”
RTHK’s decision to shun the BBC’s news output is further evidence that Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong extends to media.
Last year, when Beijing expelled about a dozen journalists working for US news outlets, it also barred them from relocating to Hong Kong.