CGTN to lose broadcast permission across Europe

Reach of China's propaganda arm to shorten further amid fallout from BBC broadcasting ban

CGTN can now broadcast programs throughout Europe, including in U.K.

CGTN can now broadcast programs throughout Europe, including in U.K. (Taiwan News photo)

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

The state media authority of North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed to Deutsche Welle on Friday (Feb. 12) that CGTN lost its permission to broadcast in Germany in the wake of the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) stripping CGTN's license on Feb. 4.

Vodafone Germany also confirmed that it had had to stop distributing the Chinese state-owned media on its cable services. The telecoms company said it hoped to restore CGTN services but that the Chinese entity now lacks 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 U.K. retains its membership in the council after Brexit, its decision is effective across almost the entirety of Europe. Theoretically, the deal can also facilitate the restoration of CGTN's 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 Party, 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, 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.

Updated : 2021-04-18 14:24 GMT+08:00