Asserting that it is strongly committed to safeguarding media freedom, the European Union (EU) said China should reverse its ban on BBC World News as it violated both the Chinese constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The EU added that it has repeatedly spoken out on cases of intimidation and surveillance of journalists and media workers in China.
In a statement issued on Friday, the EU condemned China's move to ban BBC in the country, which was imposed in response to the UK regulators revoking the broadcasting license for China Global Television Network (CGTN), stating that it restricted "freedom of expression and access to information inside its borders".
The EU recalled that according to Article 35 of the PRC Constitution citizens shall enjoy the freedom of speech and of the press and that according to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
Following China, Hong Kong on February 13 announced that it would no longer relay the BBC programmes.
Responding to this announcement, the EU said this also illustrates the reduction of Hong Kong's autonomy within the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle.
"Another consequence of the Chinese authorities' decision is that the Hong Kong public broadcaster has announced that it will cease relaying BBC World Service radio and BBC News Weekly, thereby further adding to the erosion of the rights and freedoms that is ongoing in the territory, following the imposition of the National Security Law in June 2020. This also illustrates the reduction of Hong Kong's autonomy within the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle," the EU said.
"The EU remains strongly committed to safeguarding media freedom and pluralism, as well as protecting the right to freedom of expression online and offline, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference of any kind," it added.
The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) of China barred the broadcasting of BBC World News on the mainland claiming that it has done a "slew of falsified" reporting on issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang based on interviews of victims surviving "re-education camps."
Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government's mouthpiece, said that the British broadcaster is responsible "for falsified reporting" on China's handling of the coronavirus in the country.
The move came after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that "BBC has made some false reports" on human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang after the British broadcaster reported systematic rape in so-called re-education camps.
( With inputs from ANI )
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