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Former Ofcom director leaves Chinese state broadcaster over Hong Kong coverage, report says

Nick Pollard

A former Ofcom director who joined Chinese state broadcaster CGTN in December last year has resigned, it has been reported.

Nick Pollard, a former head of Sky News and member of the Ofcom board, joined CGTN and a consultant and advisor in December last year, with the move first reported by the Financial Times in July.

Pollard’s (pictured) arrival came as CGTN set up a European hub in the UK, opening offices in Chiswick Park, London.

But nine months later he has stepped down from the broadcaster over its coverage of Hong Kong protests, according to CGTN sources that spoke to The Guardian, which also reported that Pollard had a public disagreement with one of the broadcaster’s stars on Twitter.

After CGTN presenter Liu Xin tweeted criticism of Sky News reporter Alex Crawford’s coverage from Hong Kong, arguing she had “lost her neutrality”, Pollard responded: “I think you are completely wrong, Liu Xin. Alex Crawford is one of best, bravest and fairest reporters in the world.

“Her coverage of events in Hong Kong this weekend has been outstanding. Very fine journalism and no loss of neutrality.”

The veteran broadcast journalist’s Linkedin page says he is still a consultant and advisor to CGTN Europe.

Press Gazette has contacted CGTN and Pollard for comment but has yet to receive responses.

CGTN is the subject of a formal investigation by Ofcom over an allegation that it broadcast a forced confession from British citizen Peter Humphrey on UK TV.

Humphrey submitted his fairness and privacy complaint to the broadcaster in November last year.

Speaking to the FT in July, Pollard said he was aware that Ofcom was investigating CGTN.

He added: “While that investigation is taking place I would not want to comment on it and nor would CGTN.”

CGTN says it aims to “offer a distinctive alternative to the international information flow” and provide “more balanced reporting”, noting that it seeks to cover China and the world.

The English-language channel airs on Sky and Freesat.

Picture: Reuters/Chris Radburn/Pool

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