Russia and China: Censorship

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 11th May 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Falkner of Margravine Baroness Falkner of Margravine Chair, EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their strategy to counter misinformation and censorship from Russia and China and what assessment they have made of how the relocation of the BBC Chinese Service to Hong Kong fits with that strategy, given the rise in Chinese intervention in freedoms in Hong Kong.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Russia’s use of disinformation and hybrid warfare is unacceptable. We are actively working with European and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to protect and promote access to reliable information and bring balance and plurality to the Russian language media.

We are concerned by the harassment and detention of journalists in China. Freedom of expression is a priority for the UK and it should be the bedrock of a strong democracy. Working with the Chinese authorities and civil society to encourage greater freedom of expression in China remains a priority for us. In Hong Kong, we monitor freedom of the press closely, including in the Six Monthly Reports on Hong Kong, as this is one of the fundamental freedoms protected by the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law

No assessment has been made regarding the operational decision to move some Chinese Language Service posts to Hong Kong. The BBC has advised that safety is always of paramount importance and BBC Chinese staff are already able to report from Hong Kong independently and without interference from authorities. The BBC believes this will continue in Hong Kong, which hosts regional headquarters and offices for more than a hundred leading international media organisations. The BBC faces challenges to press freedom all over the world every day and this move will not change its commitment to impartial journalism in any way.

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