Ofcom fines Chinese broadcasters for forced confession program


Ofcom, a UK broadcast regulator, has fined a Chinese state broadcaster an additional £ 200,000 ($ 273,000) for two programs aired in the UK, including a compulsory confession.

Formerly known as CCTV, CGTN is an international English satellite news channel owned by the Chinese administration and directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Ofcom said after a campaign participant who was angry with a compulsory confession aired in the UK pointed out that licensing to companies effectively operated by CCP could violate UK law. , Canceled the broadcasting license of CGTN in February.

Ofcom also discovered that broadcasters violated the standards of various shows dating back a few years, but had not yet fined some of the violations.

Ofcom today Presentation China Star Sun Limited fined £ 100,000 ($ 136,000) each in connection with complaints from former British Consulate-General employee Simon Cheng in Hong Kong and Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai I handed it over.

Chen was tortured and forced to confess on television when he was detained for 15 days by police in mainland China in August 2019.

Simon Cheng
Simon Cheng on March 31, 2020. (Courtesy of Simon Cheng)

Gui, who sold a book criticizing China’s political leadership based in Hong Kong, was detained by mainland police in 2018 and forced to appear on television to confess his criminal charges.

Ofcom said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times:

“In particular, CGTN was unable to give informed consent to be interviewed. In addition, an important fact that casts serious doubt on the credibility of their alleged confessions was excluded from the program.

“Given the seriousness of these violations, we have imposed two fines, £ 100,000 each, for a total of £ 200,000.”

Ofcom fined Chinese broadcasters £ 125,000 ($ 171,000) this year for “serious” violations of British fairness law during coverage of the anti-democratization movement in Hong Kong.

He was also fined £ 100,000 ($ 136,000) for airing a forced confession extracted from British citizen Peter Humphrey in 2013.

Do you want to return to radio waves?

Ofcom canceled a CGTN broadcast on a technical technology in February. The fact that the owner of the license, China Star Media Limited, did not have editorial control is in breach of English law.

But, importantly, Ofcom refused when CGTN applied to transfer the license to another parent company under proper editorial control. Ofcom said it would be against the law to be “ultimately controlled by an agency controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.” British broadcasting law does not allow licensing of media controlled by political groups.

Most European countries have signed contracts to accept each other’s broadcast licenses because they need to swallow the differences in regulatory standards.

Without a UK license, CGTN temporarily lost the right to broadcast throughout Europe.

But a few weeks later, they got a license from the French regulator.

Last week, Chinese media announced that CGTN had returned to broadcasting in the UK through its license. However, it seems that only a very limited number of viewers are available via internet-based television.

Safeguard Defenders, a human rights group challenging to broadcast CGTN in Europe, states that CGTN has no licensing issues, but PR issues.

They wrote on August 24th paper“Therefore, the issue of CGTN being aired in the UK is not a licensing issue, but any of the UK’s major TV providers have lost their licenses, [was] Convicted of a long list of “serious” violations of British broadcast law. “

Lily Zhou and Alexander Zhang contributed to this report

Simon Veazey

Simon Veazey

Freelance reporter

Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has been reporting on the Epoch Times since 2006 on a variety of beats, from detailed coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing of the latest news.