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UK watchdog finds China’s state TV CGTN violated impartiality rules

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 27, 2020
UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom has found TV CGTN in serious failure of compliance on due impartiality grounds over its coverage of the Hong Kong protests last year.
Meanwhile, it also announced that it has launched yet another privacy complaint against CGTN.

This would be the fourth complaint accepted by Ofcom against CGTN in the last 18 months alone.

The ruling concerns violations over the channel's biased coverage of massive-scale protests in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law with mainland China that evolved into a demand for police accountability and more democratic freedoms for the Special Administrative Region.

These were identified in five CGTN news programmes aired between August and November 2019. The shows were: The World Today and China 24. The World Today complaints were internally generated by Ofcom itself during “routine monitoring,” while the China 24 case was sparked by another fairness and privacy complaint about the broadcast of a forced confession of former UK consulate worker Simon Cheng. That complaint was filed by Mr. Cheng and supported by Safeguard Defenders. Ofcom accepted that complaint and is currently investigating it.

Ofcom said it was “minded” to sanction the broadcaster. This could include a fine or for repeat infractions, revoking their license to broadcast in the UK.

In light of the fact Ofcom is also investigating at least four other complaints against CGTN and several additional requests for action, and the seriousness of all these violations, Safeguard Defenders urges the only response should be to remove its license.