The BBC and the Chinese state broadcaster are at the center of the latest political standoff between the UK and China, with Beijing launching “new measures” against the British Broadcasting Corporation and accusing it of being “fake news”. The rejection of the BBC comes a day after Ofcom, the UK media regulator, stripped China’s state broadcaster of its right to broadcast in the UK, after an investigation found that the channel it was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Ofcom said that Star China Media Limited, which had the license to broadcast the China Global Television Network, or CGTN, in the UK, had no editorial responsibility for the media’s content. This contravenes UK law which requires broadcast licensees to have editorial autonomy over what they broadcast. Also: Biden‘s priorities in China could be challenged by the landmark new EU-China investment treaty The regulator said it also had to deny a request to transfer Star China Media’s license to another entity, called CGTN Corporation, by the same reason. “We cannot approve the request to transfer the license to China Global Television Network Corporation because it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not allowed under UK broadcasting law,” Ofcom said. In what was seen as a tit-for-tat retaliation against the UK state broadcaster, which has complete editorial independence from the UK government, Beijing lashed out at the BBC in a daily press conference on Friday, accusing it of having motives. ideological. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the BBC of “fake news” after the station issued reports critical of the Chinese state. The BBC has reported extensively on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, as well as on the state’s treatment of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang province. China has been accused of cracking down on Uighurs in an ethical cleansing campaign, which includes the use of sterilization and forced labor. China denies these accusations. “This is fake news with a typical ideological bias, which has resulted in a vile impact,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday, demanding a public apology and stopping what it considers to be “defamatory” coverage of China. Read more: Global call for the UN to investigate China’s forced birth control for Uighurs The BBC said in a statement in response to China’s allegations of “fake news” related to COVID-19 supporting “our accurate information and fair of the events in China and totally reject these unfounded accusations of fake news or ideological prejudice. “The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster, reporting to a global audience of more than 400 million people weekly without fear or favor and in accordance with our editorial standards,” the broadcaster added. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said China “reserves the right to take further action” against the BBC. China has not hesitated to take action against Western journalists in the past. In March 2020, China said it would expel journalists who worked for the New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, owned by Dow Jones, MarketWatch’s parent company. Ofcom’s decision is a major blow to CGTN, which selected London as one of its main global bases outside of China, along with Washington, DC and Nairobi. CGTN’s new London office opened less than two years ago. MarketWatch has contacted the BBC for comment.