Australian broadcaster suspends China's CGTN and CCTV, citing human rights complaint

Britain's media regulator revoked the licence of CGTN due to "serious non-compliance offences".
Britain's media regulator revoked the licence of CGTN due to "serious non-compliance offences".PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian broadcaster SBS said it was suspending the broadcast of Chinese TV news services CGTN and CCTV after receiving a human rights complaint.

An SBS spokesman told Reuters that programmes from Chinese state media CCTV and CGTN would not air on Saturday (March 6) and that SBS was reviewing a complaint from a human rights organisation.

"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 organisation Safeguard Defenders wrote to SBS after Britain's media regulator revoked the licence of CGTN due to "serious non-compliance offences".

China's foreign ministry in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter from Safeguard Defenders to SBS said CCTV had broadcast the forced confessions of some 56 people between 2013 and 2020.

"These broadcasts involved the extraction, packaging and airing of forced and false confessions of prisoners held under conditions of duress and torture," SBS reported the letter from Safeguard Defenders as saying.

SBS is a public service broadcaster, providing news and entertainment programming on radio and television in multiple languages and focussing on multicultural issues.

A 15-minute CGTN English news service and 30-minute CCTV Mandarin language service were part of SBS programming.