The EU has called on China to lift the country’s ban on the British broadcaster BBC, apparently in response to the revocation of the license of Chinese television station CGTN in Britain.
This is stated in a statement by the speaker of the European External Action Service.
On February 11, China banned the BBC from broadcasting, formally for critical reporting on the Chinese authorities’ policy towards the Uyghur minority and the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The spokesman for the European External Action Service said in a statement that this is another step in a series of restrictions on freedom of speech and access to information in China, including the expulsion of foreign journalists.
He also noted that the decision to stop the broadcast of the BBC will also affect Hong Kong, which will further worsen the situation with freedom of speech thereafter the start of the law on national security in June 2020.
The EU recalls that the Chinese Constitution also provides for freedom of speech and press, as well as the universal declaration of human rights.
“The decision to ban the BBC should be reversed. The EU will continue to vigorously defend freedom of speech and pluralism and defend the right to free speech online and offline, including the freedom to hold views and be objectively informed,” the speaker adds in a statement.
The Associated Press notes that this decision by the Chinese authorities was rather symbolic since BBC World was only accessible via cable television in hotels and individual apartments for foreigners and some offices. At the same time, this is another round of aggravation in the conflict between Beijing and Western countries on a number of issues.
Last year, China expelled foreign reporters for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times amid conflict with the Trump administration and resentment over critical media coverage of the ruling Communist Party.
Recall that in early February, British media regulator Ofcom revoked the license of the Chinese TV channel CGTN, which broadcasts in English, due to its ties with the Chinese Communist Party.