The United Kingdom's communications regulator revoked the broadcast license of China Global Television Network, an English-language satellite news channel.
The Office of Communications regulator revoked the broadcast license because it discovered the license holder had no editorial control over the state-owned network programming.
The agency said the Chinese Communist Party was in charge of the network, according to the media reports. But it did not appear to be the case. CGTN was among Chinese state media outlets the U.S. designated last March under former President Donald Trump as a "foreign mission" of the CCP. Ofcom, the commonly used name for the regulator, said it found two significant problems with license holder Star China Media Limited. First, the company violated U.K. broadcasting laws by not owning editorial oversight over its programs. SCML, therefore, was a distributor and not a content provider. Then, a transfer of SCML's license to another Chinese entity, the China Global Television Network Corporation, was denied because Ofcom said that company was "ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." U.K. law bars broadcast license holders from being controlled by political organizations. We've provided CGTN with numerous opportunities to come into compliance, but it has not done so, an Ofcom spokesperson said. We now consider it appropriate to withdraw the license for CGTN to broadcast in the U.K, he added. On 9 May 2019 the United Kingdom’s Office of Communications announced that it was investigating China Global Television Network’s possible violation of broadcasting regulations. More sanctions considered
On Thursday Ofcom added it also was considering possible sanctions to apply, separate from pulling the news outlet's license.
Last year, Ofcom faulted CGTN for two major breaches of U.K. policy, including not having been impartial in its coverage of the Hong Kong protests. Also, after a U.K. private investigator said the channel was wrong to air what he said was a forced confession, Ofcom sided with the investigator, who had been detained while looking into corporate fraud. The private investigator, Peter Humphrey, told US National Public Radio he was happy with Thursday's decision. Thank goodness, finally, this license has been taken away, Humphrey said. Considering the kind of brutal human rights violations that CGTN has been involved with, extracting and packaging forced confessions from prisoners held under torture in China who've never been in front of a judge, I just think that we should have no organization like that on our soil, he emphasised. The CGTN through its international network, including the UK-based channel, broadcasted Mr. Humprey forced confession from China's prisons violating all Western media ethics and standards. China's channel managed by Beijing to help Communist Party agents in the WestThe Safeguard Defenders organisation founded by the Swedish journalist whose forced confessions were also aired by Communist China sent an open letter to the UK's TV-regulator Ofcom, on February 25 2020. The organisation requested an investigation into allegations that China Global Television Network was violating UK broadcasting law and Ofcom's own Guidelines, that prohibits any media organization from being owned or controlled by a political body, and for its license to be revoked.It argued that the Chinese Communist Party managed the channel under its program, called “Program for the Deepening Reform of Party and Government Organs". The program said, the party would use the China's channel "to propagate the theories, political line and policies of the Party; to plan and manage major propaganda reports; to organize the production of radio and television; to produce and broadcast premium radio and television products; to channel hot social topics; to strengthen and improve supervision by public opinion, to promote the integrated development of multimedia; to strengthen the building of international broadcasting capacity; to tell China’s story well."Three other Ofcom investigations, focused on fairness and privacy protections surrounding CGTN content, were ongoing. CGTN, the international arm of China Central Television, airs in more than 160 countries. According to its website, it has headquarters in Beijing and production centers in London, Washington, D.C., and Nairobi.