Ofcom is probing the impartiality of news reports about ongoing protests in Hong Kong from China’s state broadcaster, which aired in the UK.
The broadcast regulator has launched investigations into four CGTN news programmes from the past two months.
CGTN opened its European headquarters in Chiswick Park, west London, last year.
Hong Kong has seen 16 consecutive weekends of protests (pictured) which sprung up in opposition to a China extradition bill that has since been revoked. The unrest now has a wider pro-democracy focus.
It was reported last week that Nick Pollard, a former head of Sky News and member of the Ofcom board, left his role as a consultant and advisor for CGTN in protest at the channel’s coverage of the protests.
Ofcom said today it began investigating CGTN as a result of routine monitoring of the channel, rather than in response to any complaints.
It said the news programmes under investigation aired at 5pm on 11 August, 8am on 26 August, 8am on 31 August, and 5pm on 2 September this year.
The 8am and 5pm time slots are both occupied by The World Today, which CGTN describes as its core rolling-news service with breaking news, sustained coverage and in-depth reporting.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We are investigating whether these programmes broke our rules requiring news to be presented with due impartiality.”
Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code states that “news, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality”.
CGTN’s English-language channel airs on Sky and Freesat and the broadcaster says it aims to “offer a distinctive alternative to the international information flow” and provide “more balanced reporting”.
CGTN is already the subject of a formal investigation by Ofcom over an allegation that it broadcast a forced confession from British citizen Peter Humphrey on UK TV.
Humphrey submitted his fairness and privacy complaint to the broadcaster in November last year and Ofcom announced it had launched its probe in May.