Controversial addition to the Sky channel guide, as broadcaster critical of Chinese Government and associated with conspiracies launches.
The battle over the hearts and minds of viewers with regards China continues to be fought on UK TV screens. Weeks after the Chinese state channel CGTN was booted off Sky after losing its broadcast licence, a new channel critical of the Chinese regime is launching.
NTD or “New Tang Dynasty TV” arrives on Sky channel 190 on Monday 22nd February. The UK launch is part of a worldwide expansion. NTD promises to offer viewers “a completely fresh approach to up-to-date independent news and general entertainment with content to thrill, excite, and entertain the entire family”. Founded by members of the Falun Gong religious movement, the channel promotes traditional Chinese culture. Its news reporting is critical of China’s human rights record.
Sky viewers can therefore expect a very different picture of Chinese culture, news and current affairs on NTD, compared to CGTN.
Recently, NTD has courted controversy. NTD’s YouTube channel Edge of Wonder has been accused of spreading QAnon conspiracy theories. The New York Times reported last year that NTD posted a controversial YouTube documentary about Covid-19. The documentary claims the virus is a bioweapon, created by China. This claim not supported by the World Health Organization.
This could cause regulatory trouble if broadcast on Sky. Ofcom has recently been taking a strict line against broadcasters promoting conspiracy theories. NTD could also face challenges over its news coverage of China by those aggrieved by the recent licence revocation of CGTN, turning UK broadcast rules on due impartiality against any perceived bias by NTD.
- NTD is editorially and commercially independent of Sky. Pre-launch free-to-air test broadcasts are taking place on the Astra 2G satellite, 11552H (transponder 95). Sky channel 190 was previously used by MyTV, which closed at the beginning of the year.