UK Bans China’s CGTN for Being Too Much Like the BBC

By Brian Berletic

The British Office of Communications (Ofcom) has pulled the license for China Global Television Network (CGTN) effectively terminating its ability to operate in the UK.

A Bloomberg article titled, “U.K. Ends Chinese TV License, Stoking Tensions With Beijing,” would claim:

CGTN had asked for its license to be transferred to an entity called China Global Television Network Corporation, but “crucial information” was missing from the application, and the new owner would be disqualified from holding a license as it would be controlled by a body ultimately directed by the Chinese Communist Party, Ofcom said.

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The article would also claim:

Ofcom is required by law to prevent bodies whose goals are mainly political from becoming or remaining TV license holders. Last year Ofcom found CGTN breached impartiality rules in its coverage of Hong Kong protests.

Yet if CGTN was actually guilty of this, and this standard was practiced as an international norm, it would spell the end of the UK’s own British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – British state media that admittedly exists to promote UK interests globally.

Accusing CGTN of Being Too Much Like the BBC?

The BBC’s own website claims:

The BBC should provide high-quality news coverage to international audiences, firmly based on British values of accuracy, impartiality, and fairness. Its international services should put the United Kingdom in a world context, aiding understanding of the United Kingdom as a whole, including its nations and regions where appropriate.

While there is no doubt that the BBC operates under and to promote British values, it is doubtful at best that those values include “accuracy, impartiality, and fairness.”

Even studies carried out in the UK itself regarding the BBC’s “accuracy, impartiality, and fairness” reveal quite the opposite.

A 2003 Guardian article titled, “Study deals a blow to claims of anti-war bias in BBC news,” would note:

Downing Street’s complaints about anti-war bias within the BBC appear to be disproved by an academic analysis that shows the corporation displayed the most “pro-war” agenda of any broadcaster.

Of course, the US-led invasion of Iraq, eagerly promoted by the British state and British state media like the BBC was predicated on a deliberate lie regarding Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction.”

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The BBC’s lies were promoted specifically in service of UK special interests including corporate-financiers who sought to remove Iraq – as well as other nations – from the list of potential collaborators with a re-emerging Russia and a rising China.

The BBC’s deliberate campaign of lies about Iraq was not its first nor last role in supporting illegal armed aggression around the globe – including armed aggression the British military participated in.

Similar lies would be spread by the BBC regarding Libya and Syria – with at one point in the Syrian conflict BBC staff rode with militant extremists as they invaded Syria from Turkey.

Regarding Hong Kong – an area Ofcom cited as a breach of its impartiality rules – the BBC itself presented one-sided reporting, omitting mention of US government funding behind the Hong Kong protests and deliberately downplaying or omitting egregious violence carried out by the so-called “pro-democracy” protesters.

The BBC’s framing of the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement was also decidedly leaning heavily toward the interests of the UK and far from any genuinely objective assessment of the colonial roots of that arrangement or the duress Beijing agreed to it under at the time.

The West’s Censorship Spree will Boomerang

In reality – shutting down CGTN and restricting other media operations from Eurasia is aimed at maintaining the West’s primacy within the global information sphere as a whole, and continuing its unimpeded intrusion into the information space of other nations.

However, habitually and transparent hypocrisy, coupled with the West’s waning economic and military power, will open the door for other nations to take the UK’s own practices of strangling alternative media within its own information space to finally and fully purge the BBC and other Western state media operations from their own, respective information spaces.

Members of the Western media – who often organize themselves into “Foreign Correspondent Clubs” in foreign nations and operate more like public relations agents, intelligence operators, lobbyists, and agents of foreign interests than actual journalists – have already been exposed in recent years as the public grows increasingly aware of their role in Western-backed political interference around the globe in places like Libya and Syria in 2011, Ukraine in 2013-2014, and more recently in places like Hong Kong, Thailand, and now Myanmar.

Coupled with Ofcom’s campaign of censorship is US-based social media giants purging their networks of alternative media – both independent and state-sponsored.

If allowing alternative voices to speak to international audiences on US-based social networks or to operate in the West is no longer permissible, why are US-based social media networks and Western media operations allowed to operate abroad with impunity? It is a lopsided equation that has long-since needed balancing – and one nations need to – and in some cases already are – addressing.

Just like Western sanctions against an ever-growing list of nations who refuse to submit to the West’s “international order” have ultimately begun isolating the West itself from the rest of the world – the same will happen to its media if the West finds itself incapable of striking a better balance and more respect for the nations its media operates in.

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article first appeared.

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