Media watchdog rules against China Global Television Network over Hong Kong coverage

Ofcom has ruled against China Global Television Network over its coverage of protests in Hong Kong.

A spokesman for the media watchdog said in a statement that five news programmes from the overseas arm of China’s state broadcaster “failed to preserve due impartiality”.

The 2019 reports covered the protests in Hong Kong and issues linked to the widespread demonstrations, which were triggered by China’s plans to restrict freedoms in the semi-autonomous region.

Our investigations found that CGTN failed to preserve due impartiality in five news programmes

The spokesman said: “Our investigations found that CGTN failed to preserve due impartiality in five news programmes.

“The reports, which covered the protests in Hong Kong and related developments, did not give due weight to a wide range of voices on this matter of major political controversy.”

The rule breaches came across August and September during The World Today and in November during the China 24 programme.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(Yui Mok/PA)</figcaption>
(Yui Mok/PA)

Ofcom will now weigh up whether to impose a punishment on the broadcaster.

The spokesman added: “We have told CGTN that we are minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction for these breaches.

“The broadcaster now has the opportunity to make representations to us, which we’ll consider before proceeding further.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>A Channel 4 programme is also being investigated (Victoria Jones/PA)</figcaption>
A Channel 4 programme is also being investigated (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ofcom also announced that it has launched an investigation into Channel 4 programme Dispatches: The Truth About Traveller Crime, which was broadcast last month and looked at illegal activity within the community.

The spokesman said: “We are investigating whether this programme breached our rules on harm and offence.”

In a statement issued after the programme was aired, Channel 4 defended the programme, saying it has “a strong track record and remit to conduct public debate including about difficult and uncomfortable issues”.

The statement added that the programme analysed the link between crime statistics and traveller sites and spoke to members of the communities, as well as those who live near them.

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