- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
China limits ‘overly entertaining’ TV programming
Question of the Day
BEIJING (AP) - China plans to limit reality TV shows and other light fare shown on satellite television stations as part of a drive to wrest back Communist Party control over cultural industries that have fueled more independent viewpoints.
The order from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television refers to shows that are vulgar or “overly entertaining.” It singles out programs dealing with marital troubles and matchmaking, talent shows, game shows, variety shows, talk shows and reality programming.
The country’s 34 satellite TV stations must largely phase out such shows by next year, to be replaced with news and cultural programming. The order also bans viewership surveys and the use of ratings as the sole criteria for whether to broadcast a particular show.
The changes aim to “meet the public’s demand” for varied and high quality viewing, said the order, published Wednesday.
“Satellite channels are mainly for the broadcast of news propaganda and should expand the proportion of news, economic, cultural, science and education, children’s, and documentary programming,” the order said.
The order follows a Communist Party meeting last week that asserted the need for strengthening social morality and boosting China’s cultural influence abroad _ a recognition by the party that it is losing its power to dictate public opinion. Social media, especially hugely popular microblogs that encourage individuals to generate content, are also being targeted by government censors.
The crackdown coincides with a bout of national hand-wringing over a lack of public ethics, highlighted by the death last week of a toddler who was struck by two vehicles and left for dead by passers-by. Officials believe the promotion of “core socialist values” _ a phrase meant to counter calls by liberal Chinese for “universal values” _ will bolster social cohesion in the face of rising materialism.
The communique that emerged from last week’s meeting called on officials to “focus education and improvement in the ethical field where there are particularly serious problems.”
“Resolutely oppose money worship, hedonism, and extreme individualism and arduously correct bad tendencies such as abusing one’s powers, fakery, unprincipled acts, and harming others for profit,” said the document, published Wednesday on government websites.
It said television programs and other cultural products should be “refined and inspiring,” while oversight of the Internet must be strengthened to block pornography, vulgarity, and the “transmission of harmful information.”
In a sign authorities intend to pursue online infractions, three people have been punished with warnings or up to 15 days in detention for spreading rumors online, while suspects were being sought in another three cases, the official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday.
According to the SARFT regulation, satellite channels as a whole can show no more than nine of the restricted programs each night between the prime time hours of 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., with individual channels limited to two programs each not exceeding 90 minutes in total.
They must also show at least two hours of news programs between 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., with at least two news programs running no less than 30 minutes each to be shown in prime time.
While satellite television has grown massively as an alternative to the staid government-run terrestrial channels, younger Chinese have increasingly turned to the Internet for viewing domestic and foreign produced movies and television programs. Government efforts to police the Web have focused mainly on blocking pornography, gambling sites, and those featuring politically sensitive content, while moves to restrict entertainment have been largely ineffective.
The new rules emerge from an ongoing push for media to be both politically docile and relevant to a Chinese audience, according to David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project website at the University of Hong Kong. Heavy restrictions on content may ultimately doom that to failure, he said.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors