Ofcom has fined Star China Media Limited, the operating company of China Global Television Network (CGTN), a total of £225,000 for serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code.
The UK media regulator had already stripped the channel, previously branded as CCTV News, of its licence in February after it found the channel was ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
The loss of its broadcast licence resulted in BBC World News losing its cable distribution in China. CGTN has subsequently returned to UK screens after being granted a new licence by the French CSA.
Ofcom sanctioned CGTN over the programmes China 24 and News Hour. China 24 had reported on the arrest of by British citizen Peter Humphrey. The footage of Mr Humphrey apologising for the offence is widely seen as a forced confession.
The regulator had previously found that the programmes had breached Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code.
Rule 7.1 of the UK Broadcast Code states: “Broadcasters must avoid unjust or unfair treatment of individuals or organisations in programmes”. Rule 8.1 says: “Any infringement of privacy in programmes, or in connection with obtaining material included in programmes, must be warranted”.
There was a further sanction for CGTN’s news output surrounding impartiality in its coverage of Hong Kong’s Amendment Bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.
CGTN was fined £100,000 in connection with China 24 and News Hour and a further £125,000 in connection with four editions of The World Today and a further edition of China 24.