Ofcom fines Chinese state-owned broadcaster £200,000

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Ofcom has fined a Chinese state-owned broadcaster £200,000 for failing to comply with broadcasting rules.

The media regulator said it had imposed the fine on Star China Media Limited, the licence holder for the China Global Television Network (CGTN), for breaches of its rules around fairness and privacy.

CGTN, an international, English-language satellite news channel, had its licence to broadcast in the UK revoked in February after an Ofcom investigation concluded it was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not permitted under UK broadcasting law.

CGTN has been issued with two £100,000 fines relating to two separate complaints about unfair treatment of individuals in programmes broadcast on CGTN – and CCTV as it was formerly known – between 2016 and 2019.

Both complaints related to how programming treated individuals and their alleged confessions to crimes.

In both cases, Ofcom said it had found CGTN had failed to take “appropriate steps to satisfy itself that material facts had not been presented, disregarded or omitted in a way that was unfair” to the individuals involved.

The penalty comes after Ofcom also fined the broadcaster £225,000 in March for breaching fairness, privacy and due impartiality rules.

The regulator said in a statement on Thursday: “Ofcom has today fined Star China Media Limited a total of £200,000 for serious breaches of our fairness and privacy rules on its CCTV and CGTN services.

“Following investigation, we upheld two complaints after we found the individuals concerned were unfairly treated and had their privacy unwarrantably infringed.

“Among other things, CGTN failed to obtain their informed consent to be interviewed. In addition, material facts which cast serious doubt on the reliability of their alleged confessions were left out of the programmes.”

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