CGTN to lose broadcast permission across Europe

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By Chris Chang, Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the decision by British regulators to withdraw the license of the China Global Television Network (CGTN), Germany began barring the Chinese news cable channel from its television network nationwide.

In a confirmation to Deutsche Welle on Friday 12, the state media authority of North Rhine-Westphalia announced that CGTN lost its permission to broadcast in Germany in the wake of the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) stripping CGTN’s license on February 4.

Vodafone Germany also confirmed that it had to stop distributing the Chinese state-owned media on its cable services. The telecoms company said it hoped to restore CGTN to its services but lacked a valid license to do so under the shared agreement among European nations, Reuters reported.

The Council of Europe’s “transfrontier television” deal signed in 1989 allows a distribution license to be recognized across all member states, including all European Union nations and many non-EU nations.

Since the UK retains its membership in the council after Brexit, its decision is effective across almost the entirety of Europe, and, theoretically, the deal can also facilitate CGTN to restore its continent-wide distribution if it manages to renew its license in any member state.

According to Ofcom, the office received multiple complaints about CGTN, including those related to violations of accuracy and fairness as well as the airing of forced confessions acquired through torture. In addition, the entity holding CGTN’s license lacks editorial responsibility and is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Paty, a direct violation of the licensing requirement.

One week after Ofcom’s verdict, in a move widely seen as retaliation, China’s National Radio and Television administration announced its decision to yank the BBC World News television channel out of China, saying it “failed to meet the requirements of impartiality and truth” and “damage[d] the national interest.”

The language used by the Chinese authorities drew criticism from the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, which voiced its concern that the CCP was attempting to warn foreign media they might face sanctions if their reporting about Xinjiang and other ethnic groups failed to meet the party line.

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