The boss of the BBC has criticised China for its moves to block the broadcaster’s global news coverage, saying that “media freedom matters”.
Director-general Tim Davie said the broadcaster “should be able to do its reporting without fear or favour”, in a statement posted on Twitter.
BBC World News has been banned by China after the country threatened to retaliate over UK regulator Ofcom stripping state TV channel China Global Television Network of its UK broadcasting licence.
The decision was based on technical issues but rooted in complaints about CGTN’s role in persecuting critics of the ruling Communist Party.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, public broadcaster RTHK will reportedly also stop relaying the BBC World Service to listeners.
In mainland China the BBC is only available in some hotels, businesses and residential compounds for foreigners.
Mr Davie said: “The latest developments in China, including the banning of the World Service in Hong Kong, are deeply worrying developments.
“The BBC should be able to do its reporting without fear or favour.
“It is of deep concern when our journalists are restricted and their work curtailed.”
He added: “This is not just about stopping the BBC from broadcasting news in China, there are significant and growing global threats to the free media as some seek to increase their control of information.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we speak out to demand free and fair journalism.”
Beijing has previously criticised the BBC’s reporting on coronavirus in the country, as well as allegations of human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang.
Earlier this week Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab criticised China’s moves to block the BBC, labelling it an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom”.
The European Union has also called on China to reverse its decision.