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Film-makers John Pilger, Oliver Stone and Ken Loach back letter calling for Britain to reverse ban on Chinese state broadcaster CGTN

JOURNALISTS, film-makers and artists call today for British authorities to reverse Ofcom’s decision to ban Chinese state broadcaster CGTN.

An open letter published by the No Cold War campaign and the Morning Star challenges “an act of censorship.”

Signatories include award-winning journalist John Pilger – who directed the 2016 film The Coming War on China, about the US military encirclement of that country – as well as Oscar-winning directors Oliver Stone and Ken Loach, rapper Lowkey, writer and poet Anna Chen and author and activist Tariq Ali.

Journalists condemning the regulator’s February decision to deny CGTN a broadcasting licence, on the grounds that it is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, include the Canary’s Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Globetrotter chief correspondent Vijay Prasad and the Morning Star’s Ben Chacko.

“It is well known that CGTN is a Chinese state broadcaster and viewers can take this into account in judging its broadcasts. As a state television broadcaster, CGTN’s status is similar to that of the BBC, France Televisions, NHK (Japan), and others,” the letter reads. It points out that “numerous private and state channels have clear political agendas” but are not denied a broadcasting licence on those grounds.

The ban comes “at a time of growing hostility towards China led by the US,” Fiona Edwards of No Cold War told the Morning Star.

“This new cold war mentality is leading to provocative acts of aggression against China, including plans to send the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the South China Sea in May.”

Instead of raising international tensions, Britain should seek dialogue to defuse them, she argued.

“Reinstating CGTN’s broadcasting licence is important because it provides the British public with an opportunity to hear from a Chinese perspective.”

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