VP Of BBC Says Producing Chinese Propaganda Ads Is ‘Vital’ For Funding Journalism


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The BBC is defending its decision to create propaganda content for the Chinese state media and commercials for Huawei, according to a Deadline investigation published Monday.

The BBC’s Executive Vice President Sean O’Hara said that the tax-payer funded broadcast service depends on Chinese contracts for funding international journalism, Deadline reported after a detailed investigation into the contracts.

“The commercial income generated from advertising provides vital investment in BBC News, ensuring that we are able to sustain our global network of journalists and continue to bring independent and impartial news to the UK and beyond. I’d like to assure you that it has no influence on our editorial output,” O’Hara said in a memo to British lawmaker Lord David Alton, according to the outlet.

Alton is a member of the Interparliamentary Alliance on China, and had previously called upon the broadcast service to review the unit dedicated to creating advertisements for China, BBC StoryWorks. Alton argued that it was “simply not realistic to believe that commercial relationships with the Chinese Communist Party have no bearing on behavior.”

In response, O’Hara said, “all of our activity is subject to a rigorous compliance process, and in the case of the content we have created for Huawei and for CGTN, was referred for senior editorial approval outside of the division. Each decision is made on a case-by-case basis and is considered within the context of the situation at the time.”

Sources at the BBC are “uncomfortable with these relationships” with China. BBC StoryWorks has partnered with at least 18 different Chinese clients, nine of which were affiliated with the CCP. (RELATED: Don’t Worry About Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit. China Invaded Us Years Ago, Didn’t You Notice?)

Journalists have questioned the thought processes behind working with Chinese propaganda companies, such as CGTN, who have previously been accused of creating “perilous” working conditions for British reporters.

The New York Times and The Washington Post have also reaped profits from relationships with Chinese state media and the Communist Party. In one instance, The Washington Post touted China’s Communist Party as a means of bettering the lives of citizens, but made no mention of China’s oppression and genocide against the Uyghur population.