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The sheer hypocrisy of Britain's double standard on press freedom

By Gao Wencheng | Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-20 07:27
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The CCTV headquarters, the home of Chinese state media outlet CCTV and its English-language sister channel CGTN, in Beijing, China on Feb 5, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

By banning China's law-abiding television network in Britain and blasting Beijing for pulling BBC World News off the air over regulation violation, London has laid bare its true colors of playing a hypocritical double-standard game on press freedom. 

London's ban on China Global Television Network (CGTN) is political oppression based on blunt ideological bias. Over the past 18 years, the Chinese broadcaster has been strictly observing British laws, regulations as well as professional ethics, and has made positive contributions to enhancing mutual understanding and cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the Chinese and British people.

Nevertheless, Britain's communications regulator Ofcom launched an investigation early last year of the Chinese TV broadcaster, citing the so-called CGTN's "editorial control" and "political nature," and then blatantly revoked CGTN's license earlier this month despite CGTN's full cooperation in the probe.

Britain's ploy to portray itself as a defender of press freedom imploded when it attacked Beijing for punishing BBC for biased reporting and sometimes even making fake news.

In contrast to CGTN's upholding the principles of objectivity and accuracy, BBC has many a time produced and broadcast fake news with strong ideological bias against China, and spread disinformation on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic to smear and attack China.

On Hong Kong, BBC reporters turned a blind eye to the rioters' savageness and described Hong Kong police's normal law-enforcement measures as acts of brutality; on Xinjiang, based only on several non-photorealistic satellite images and reports fabricated by anti-China activists, BBC journalists concocted fake news to slander China's Xinjiang policy; and on the pandemic, BBC even exploited a counter-terrorism drill video as a so-called proof of China's violence in epidemic prevention.

What the British government and BBC have done once again proved that the freedom of press, if left abused, can only lead to freedom of disinformation.

The hypocritical double standard also attests to those China bashers' lack of pluck to learn about China. "Fear of hearing the truth about China is why Ofcom banned CGTN," John Ross, former director of Economic and Business Policy of London, wrote in an opinion piece.

As China has taken enormous strides in economic development, and "has just had such great success in dealing with COVID-19 and in economic recovery compared to the situation in Britain," "it is crucial for those who favor a 'new Cold War' that people in Britain do not understand the reality about China," he said.

A more deep-seated problem is their obsession with the western-centric mentality. Martin Jacques, a British scholar and political commentator, once warned, "we think of ourselves as open-minded, but our sense of superiority has closed our minds."

With such a closed and overweening mindset, it is unlikely for those zero-summers in Britain and elsewhere in the Western world to take an objective view of the progress made in the non-Western world. Worse still, the Cold-War style thinking pattern will propel them towards choosing confrontation over cooperation at a time when the world community desperately needs to build up mutual understanding and cement unity in the face of mounting global challenges.

Press freedom should never be employed to legitimize bias news reporting or fake news, nor should it be manipulated as an excuse to fulfill some self-serving ideological purposes. London needs to call off its double-standard farces, or it will ruin the very freedom it claims to protect and promote.

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