British television channel BBC World News has been blocked from airing in China, Beijing’s National Radio and Television Administration said today. This comes only a week after British media regulator Ofcom revoked Chinese state television’s broadcast licence. Former London MEP Lance Forman said the ban was the “best thing” China has done so far.
Mr Forman added he had heard “the funniest thing” on Talk Radio host James Whale’s show, as the host had urged the UK to follow suit.
Mr Forman wrote on Twitter: “I almost just crashed driving!!
“Funniest thing I have heard a radio presenter say in ages. Thanks
“He asked Tom Tugendhat:
“‘The Chinese have just banned the BBC.
“Can’t we do the same thing here?
“It’s the best thing they have done so far.'”
The BBC World News is not included in most TV channel packages in China but is usually available in some hotels and residences.
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China’s move was heavily criticised by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.
He said: “China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom.
“China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe, and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”
It comes after Ofcom revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence on February 4.
The ban meant the channel was unable to broadcast in the UK after an investigation found the licence was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.
China criticised the ruling as politicised and warned it reserved the right to make a “necessary response”.
In response to the Chinese ban of BBC World News, a spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action.
“The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”