Britain’s audiovisual regulator fined the Chinese English-language news channel CGTN on Monday for breaching privacy and bias in four separate cases, shortly after Beijing was infuriated by revoking the broadcast license.
In the context of the growing diplomatic tension between London and Beijing, Chinese public television received two fines totaling 225,000 pounds (310,000 dollars, 260,000 euros).
The reason is because it violated its obligations of neutrality in its coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019 and violated the privacy of journalist Peter Humphrey when he reported his arrest in China.
Humphrey, who was working in China as a private investigator for the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison in August 2014 for violating Chinese privacy laws. He was released and deported in 2015.
In another decision, the regulatory organization Ofcom found CGTN guilty of unfair treatment and privacy breach of two of the complainants and has not yet commented on the possible penalties.
The first concerns Simon Cheng, a former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, who disappeared in 2019. He claims he was tortured by the Chinese secret police.
CGTN posted a police video showing a man presented as Cheng and apparently confessed to having been in contact with prostitutes, an accusation he denied, saying he was coerced into making the statement.
The second decision concerns Joy Minhai, a nationalized Chinese Swedish citizen who has published dirty books about Chinese leaders in a Hong Kong publishing house.
Last year, a Chinese court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for “illegally spreading classified information abroad,” while his entourage denounced political persecution.
Ofcom reprimanded CGTN for unfairly handling its case.
In early February, the regulator withdrew the canal’s license, claiming it was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Since then, China has banned BBC World News broadcasts on its soil, without officially linking it to CGTN status.
gmo-acc / tjc