CGTN: UK regulators pull license of Chinese state-owned broadcaster

Media regulator Ofcom said Thursday that it had withdrawn the channel’s license after an investigation “concluded that the license is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited.”

Ofcom said that Star China Media Limited did not have “editorial responsibility” for the channel’s output, and therefore “does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service.” Star was acting as the distributor, rather than the provider of the news channel, it added.

The regulators also rejected a proposal by CGTN to transfer the license to a new entity after finding that it would ultimately be controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and therefore be disqualified under UK 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 license for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” an Ofcom spokesperson said.

The channel will be removed from UK airwaves with immediate effect. CGTN has the right to request a judicial review, according to an Ofcom spokesperson, and they could apply for another license in the future.

Ofcom previously ruled that CGTN repeatedly breached impartiality standards with its coverage of protests last year in Hong Kong.
CGTN was launched in 2016. It 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.”

Headquartered in Beijing, CGTN has three production centers in Nairobi, Kenya, Washington D.C. and London.

CGTN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— This is a developing story and will be updated.

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