A week after the UK’s media watchdog stripped Beijing’s state broadcaster of its licence in Britain, China has officially banned BBC’s World News television channel from broadcasting in the country.

The National Radio and Television Administration in China on Thursday said reports by BBC World News had “violated requirements that news should be truthful and fair”, harming China’s interests and undermining national unity.

A media report quoted British foreign secretary Dominic Raab as terming the decision as “an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”.

Raab said: “China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe, and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”

China recently alleged that the BBC was involved in reporting “fake news” on matters such as China’s response to the pandemic and its treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

However, the Chinese government in its brief statement did not specify which broadcasts by BBC had violated its rules.

The statement, published at the stroke of the lunar new year, said BBC World News had failed to meet requirements to broadcast in China and would be taken off air, adding that its application for a broadcasting licence next year would not be approved.

UK’s media watchdog Ofcom last week revoked China Global Television Network’s licence to broadcast in the UK after a probe reportedly found that it was editorially controlled by the Chinese Communist party, contradicting the rules set by the regulator.

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