EU calls on China to reverse ban on BBC World News channel

BEIJING (AP) — The European Union (EU) on Saturday called on China to reverse its ban on the BBC World News television channel imposed in apparent retaliation for Britain’s pulling of the license of state-owned Chinese broadcaster CGTN.

The EU said in a statement that Beijing’s move further restricted “freedom of expression and access to information inside its borders”, and violated both the Chinese constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The statement also said that Hong Kong’s announcement that its public broadcaster would also stop carrying BBC broadcasts added to the “erosion of the rights and freedoms that is ongoing” in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory since the imposition last year of a sweeping new national security law.

“The EU remains strongly committed to safeguarding media freedom and pluralism, as well as protecting the right to freedom of expression online and offline, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference of any kind,” the statement said.

While Britain is no longer in the EU, it remains a member of the Council of Europe, which oversees a 1989 agreement linking broadcasting licenses. Britain, the United States (US) and foreign correspondents based in China have also expressed dismay over the BBC ban.

The BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation sign on their offices at White City in London. PHOTO: AP