BBC World News Banned From Airing in China Due to ‘Serious Content Violation’

By A.J. Katz 

The Chinese state-run international English-language news channel CGTN announced Friday that BBC World News has been banned from airing in China due to “serious content violation.” This decision was made by China’s broadcasting regulator National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA).

In a statement issued at the start of the Lunar New Year, the regulator said an investigation found BBC World News’ China-focused reporting on the coronavirus had “seriously violated” regulations, including that news should be “truthful and fair,” and that it had “undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity.”

The regulator added: “As the channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel, BBC World News is not allowed to continue its service within Chinese territory. The NRTA will not accept the channel’s broadcast application for the new year.”

In response, a BBC spokeswoman told TVNewser: “We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action.  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.”

It’s also worth noting that BBC World News was never allowed in mainland China and Chinese homes.  The country limited the channel’s distribution and also blacked out reports on Chinese subjects, so BBC World News was only available in international hotels.

The NRTA action to ban BBC World News comes one week after Britain’s media regulator Ofcom revoked CGTN’s broadcast license in the U.K. after an investigation found the license was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.