Speaking for the first time since the ban earlier this week, recently-appointed BBC Director-General Tim Davie accused countries such as China of trying to expand their “control of information”. The BBC boss warned it is of “deep concern” that China was preventing the BBC from properly doing its job and broadcasting around the world. The Director-General warned of the “growing global threats to the free media as some seek to increase their control of information”.
Mr Davie told The Daily Telegraph: “Media freedom matters. The latest developments in China, including the banning of the World Service in Hong Kong, are deeply worrying developments. The BBC should be able to do its reporting without fear or favour.
“It is of deep concern when our journalists are restricted and their work curtailed.
“Importantly, in these difficult times when misinformation is rife, we have seen growing audiences for trusted news sources – including hundreds of millions coming to the BBC.
“This is not just about stopping the BBC from broadcasting news in China, there are significant and growing global threats to the free media as some seek to increase their control of information.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we speak out to defend free and fair journalism.”
Senior BBC sources told the newspaper the global media faces a triple-whammy of threats from states such as China and Russia, through manipulation of social media, and funding their own biased news operations and shutting down trusted international broadcasters.
One said: “These states are actively manipulating social media to undermine legal democracies while at the same time flexing their muscles by pumping millions of rubles or whatever currency into global news services that distort the truth.
“And now they are preventing the likes of the BBC from broadcasting.”
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The Chinese firm had used its license from Ofcom to broadcast into Germany and other countries throughout the continent.
A spokesperson for Germany’s broadcast regulator Landesmedienanstalten said: “CGTN is not licensed in Germany and regulators have not received any application from it.
“CGTN has to provide a valid licence to the network operators.
“If they cannot provide a valid licence, retransmission has to be stopped.”
Telecoms giant Vodafone has also joined the backlash in Germany, and has stopped transmission of CGTN on its cable networks in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, and Baden Wurtenburg “until the situation becomes clear.”
CGTN could possibly move its headquarters in London to another European country and continue broadcasting in Europe under a new license.
But last week, the firm said it was not planning to close its newsroom in Chiswick Park in the English capital.