UK regulator investigates Chinese TV in Britain over confession it aired


LONDON (Reuters) – A private investigator previously jailed in China has asked Britain to restrict China Central Television’s operations on the grounds that it broke UK broadcasting rules by airing confessions he said he was forced to make.

FILE PHOTO – A combination photo shows British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey (L) and his wife Yu Yingzeng as they leave the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court inside a police vehicle in Shanghai August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

Briton Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng were sentenced in 2014 for illegally obtaining private records of Chinese citizens and selling the information to clients, including drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

They were deported from China in June 2015 after their jail terms were reduced.

The case was intertwined with an investigation of GSK in China that led to a $489 million fine against the firm for paying bribes to doctors to use its drugs.

Humphrey said in a complaint to British media regulator Ofcom that CCTV had collaborated with police to extract, record and broadcast a confession he said he was forced to make long before his actual trial.

CCTV did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ofcom said it had received Humphrey’s complaint.

The regulator has the power to fine a broadcaster for breaching rules, and in the most severe infringements can revoke a licence.

It fined Al Arabiya News, an Arabic language news channel based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 120,000 pounds ($153,924) earlier this year for broadcasting what a “confession” made by a Bahraini opposition leader filmed in a prison without obtaining consent or verifying the accuracy and fairness of the footage.

Humphrey said CCTV released the footage worldwide through its international arm, China Global Television (CGTN), including on its English-language channel that aired in Britain.

He said the broadcasts resulted in the prejudicing of Chinese and world public opinion against him and his wife, and prejudiced a later trial.

He said the broadcasts breached Britain’s broadcasting code in areas including impartiality and accuracy, fairness and privacy.

Reporting by Paul Sandle in London and Philip Wen in Beijing; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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