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China bans BBC World News; broadcaster says 'disappointed'
China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe
Britain's BBC World News was barred on Friday from airing in China, while Hong Kong's public broadcaster said it was suspending carriage of the television channel, a week after Britain's media regulator revoked Chinese state television's UK broadcast licence.
China's National Radio and Television Administration said an investigation found BBC World News' China-related reports had "seriously violated" regulations, including that news should be "truthful and fair," had harmed the country's national interests and undermined national unity.
The channel, therefore, does not meet requirements for foreign channels broadcasting in China and its application to air for another year would not be accepted, it added.
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), the publicly funded broadcaster in the former British territory, said separately on Friday it was suspending the relay of BBC news programming starting later on Friday, following the decision from Beijing.
English-language BBC World News is not included in most TV channel packages in mainland China, but is available in some hotels and residences.
At a regular news briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the decision.
Earlier this month, the State Department said it was "deeply disturbed" by reports carried by the BBC of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China's Xinjiang region and said there must be serious consequences for atrocities there.
China denies accusations of abuses in Xinjiang and said the BBC report was "wholly without factual basis".
The BBC said it was disappointed by the decision of the Chinese authorities to bar BBC World News from broadcasting.
"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," the BBC said.
On Feb. 4, British media regulator Ofcom revoked China Global Television Network's (CGTN) licence to broadcast in the United Kingdom 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".