Ofcom, a British media regulator, has imposed fines of £225,000 ($311,000) on Chinese news network CGTN, having already revoked its licence, and upheld a further two complaints made by Hong Kong dissidents.

Ofcom fined the network £100,000 over a complaint brought by a UK national, Peter Humphrey, who says he was forced to make a criminal confession aired by China Global Television Network (CGTN) in 2013.

The regulator ruled that CGTN, which was called CCTV News before 2016, “ought to have been aware that, in light of the fact he was confessing to offences in advance of trial and in the presence of those who were holding him in custody, there were reasons to doubt whether Humphrey’s consent was genuine and informed.”

Humphrey was jailed for more than two years by a court in Shanghai in 2014 in connection with a corruption case involving pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The Chinese broadcaster, whose licence was owned by Star China Media Limited, justified the controversial report to Ofcom on public-interest grounds, arguing it had obtained Humphrey’s consent and was not aware of any mistreatment.

CGTN must also pay £125,000 after Ofcom ruled that five programmes aired in 2019 covering the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests “had failed to maintain due impartiality”.

The English-language satellite broadcaster has long faced criticism for parroting the Communist Party line in its global broadcasts.

Ofcom revoked its licence last month after finding the state-backed ownership structure broke UK law.

On February 13, China decided to take off the British Broadcasting Corp.’s (BBC) World News from being aired in China. The move comes after the United Kingdom (UK) regulator’s decision to revoke the Chinese state-backed broadcaster China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) license last week.


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