SYDNEY—Australian broadcaster SBS said on Friday it would suspend its broadcasts of news bulletins from Chinese state television news services CGTN and CCTV after receiving a human rights complaint.
An SBS spokesman told Reuters that programs from CCTV and CGTN would not air on Saturday and that SBS was reviewing a complaint from a human rights organization.
“Given the serious concerns it raises, and the complexity of the material involved, we have made the decision to suspend the broadcast of the overseas-sourced CGTN and CCTV news bulletins while we undertake an assessment of these services,” SBS said in a statement.
A story on the SBS News website said human rights organization Safeguard Defenders wrote to SBS after Britain’s media regulator revoked the license of CGTN due to “serious non-compliance offences.”
BERLIN—Vodafone Germany has had to stop distributing China’s state-owned CGTN television on its cable services as a result of a media row between Britain and China.
The unit of British telecoms group Vodafone said on Friday it hoped to restore CGTN to its services, but that it currently did not have a valid license to do so.
Britain last week revoked a license that let CGTN be distributed in Britain. That drew protests from China, which on Friday barred the BBC from its television networks and limited its reach in Hong Kong.
Australian journalist Cheng Lei was formally arrested in China on Feb. 5 on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas, after being detained for six months without charge.
Cheng, 49, was a news anchor for CGTN, the international arm of the Chinese regime’s state broadcaster, CCTV, before being detained in Beijing in August 2020 amid testy relations between Canberra and Beijing.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Paynesaid on Monday that the government had raised its “serious concerns” with the Chinese regime about Cheng’s detention regularly at senior levels, including about her welfare and her detention conditions.
Britain’s media regulator says it has withdrawn the license for the English-language international channel of state-run China Central Television to broadcast in the United Kingdom.
The regulator, Ofcom, announced the revocation of the license of China Global Television Network, or CGTN, on Thursday.
Ofcom said UK broadcasting laws “state that broadcast licensees must have control over the licensed service — including editorial oversight over the programmes they show.” It added that “under these laws, license holders cannot be controlled by political bodies.”
Ofcom said its investigation concluded that the Chinese media company that held the license for the CGTN service “did not have editorial responsibility” for the channel’s output and so “is not a lawful broadcast licensee.”