(Reuters) – British television channel BBC World News has been barred from airing in China, the National Radio and Television Administration said on Friday, a week after Britain’s media regulator revoked Chinese state television’s broadcast licence.
In a statement issued on the stroke of the Lunar New Year, the 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 national interests and undermined national unity.
The channel therefore does not meet requirements for foreign channels broadcasting in China and its application to air for another year will not be accepted, it added.
China’s move was condemned by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, while the BBC said it was “disappointed”.
“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.”
English-language BBC World News is not included in most TV channel packages in China but is available in some hotels and residences.
Two Reuters journalists in China said the channel had gone blank on their screens.
“We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action,” the BBC said.
“The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”
On Feb. 4, British media regulator Ofcom revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence to broadcast in the United Kingdom after an investigation found the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.
China criticised the ruling as politicised and warned it reserved the right to make a “necessary response”.