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Britain Revokes Chinese State Media’s Broadcasting License

FILE- In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 file photo, people wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, walk past the CCTV Headquarters building, the home of Chinese state-run television network CCTV and its overseas arm CGTN,…

Citing links to the Chinese Communist Party, Britan revoked China’s state TV channel of its license to broadcast Thursday.

Ofcom, a British communications regulator, said it yanked the license of China Global Television Network (CGTN), which broadcasts internationally in English, saying the channel violated rules on fairness and accuracy.

Specifically, Ofcom said people had filed complaints against the channel saying it had aired forced confessions. One complaint was from a former British Consulate employee in Hong Kong who said he was arrested and tortured while being interrogated by Chinese police seeking information on recent Hong Kong protests. Another was from a British corporate investigator who claimed he was forced to confess while being held in China.

There were also questions about corporate structure.

Ofcom said the licensee, Star China Media Limited, did not have editorial control over the channel, which is a requirement under British law. Instead, Star China served merely as a distributor.

Ofcom added a plan to transfer the license to China Global Television Network Corporation was rejected because the application was missing “crucial information.” Furthermore, the body said CGNTC could not hold a license because it is “controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

According to the Associated Press, Ofcom says it gave CGTN time to comply, but that those efforts were “exhausted.” CGTN has not commented on the revocation.

"Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster's and audience's rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the license for CGTN to broadcast in the U.K.," Ofcom said, according to the Associated Press.

Launched in 2016, CGTN claims to provide "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."