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22 Dec 2018

BBC union condemns Chinese TV over forced confessions

BBC Journalists Union Condemns China’s Broadcaster CCTV and Supports Ofcom Complaint on Forced Confessions

BBC World News AGM: Chapel Meeting – Friday 21st December 2018 1.30pm, Richard Dimbleby Room, B1 NBH   Referral of China Central Television to OFCOM BBC World News NUJ Chapel notes that China Central Television (CCTV) is opening its largest media hub outside China in Chiswick, employing over 300 staff. According to Reporters Without Borders, China’s state and privately-owned media are under the Communist Party’s close control, while foreign reporters are encountering more and more obstacles. More than 50 journalists and bloggers are currently detained. This NUJ Chapel condemns moves to deepen control by the Chinese Communist Party of news and information and the online surveillance of its citizens. We also condemn how forced televised confessions, filmed and broadcast by CCTV, are now commonplace in China.  This Chapel therefore supports the complaint filed by victim and former Reuters journalist Peter Humphrey with OFCOM against CCTV for operating in violation of the regulator’s broadcasting code and for complicity in committing gross human rights violations.  This Chapel states that broadcasters cannot be accomplices to torture. Proposed: David Campanale Seconded: Jatinder Dillon  

  21 December 2018 – The human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders has learned today that BBC television journalists have moved a resolution condemning China’s state broadcaster CCTV over its airing of forced confessions from China in the UK and supporting the recent complaint to Ofcom of victim Peter Humphrey against Chinese TV’s involvement in this human rights abuse.   Mr. Humphrey, a former Reuters correspondent for almost 20 years and then due diligence consultant for 15 years in China, submitted a detailed complaint to Ofcom on 23 November calling for curbs on CCTV’s UK broadcast rights due to CCTV’s role in extracting and broadcasting forced and falsified “confessions” from him and his wife twice (in 2013 and 2014) while they were held under duress in a Shanghai jail on false charges of illegally acquiring private information.   Ofcom is the UK broadcasting regulator which enforces UK broadcasting laws. Mr. Humphrey’s complaint has pinpointed 15 violations of this law by CCTV in its broadcasting of his forced “confession”, centering around CCTV’s violation of the law’s privacy and fairness provisions and the standards of content. Ofcom has yet to reach a decision on Mr. Humphrey’s complaint.   Mr. Humphrey, a British citizen, and his American wife Yingzeng Yu, were incarcerated in Shanghai from July 2013 to June 2015, and Mr. Humphrey was denied medical treatment in captivity, causing cancer.   Safeguard Defenders welcomes the principled decision taken by BBC journalists trade union, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), convened on Friday. This resolution upholds professional ethics and journalistic values against the encroachment of abusive media practices employed by CCTV, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party.   “We call upon all journalists in the UK to act in concert with this move by the NUJ group at the BBC", Safeguard defenders director Peter Dahlin said.   “I am very grateful for this thoughtful action from the BBC NUJ members and for their devotion to ethical journalism and the law,” Peter Humphrey said. No genuine professional journalist anywhere should accept CCTV’s behaviour.”   Friday’s resolution (above) was adopted by the television arm of the NUJ in BBC Global News.