China's media watchdog has requested all TV and radio presenters to speak standard Putonghua without using any dialects, slang, or foreign languages in programs, except for some special concessions.
The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China issued a notice, saying that presenters should take the lead in promoting the use of standard Putonghua, in an effort to enhance the soft power of Chinese culture.
They are not allowed to "imitate" the pronunciation of characteristic dialects. Mixing foreign languages, slang, and some cyber phrases, which could be "harmful" to the standard use of language, should also be prohibited.
Presenters should also guide their guests to use standard expressions, and avoid mixing any foreign languages and slang with Putonghua.
Variety show hosts are the key target, as "substandard" language is frequently used in the programs, such as those in Hunan Province, the Shanghai Morning Post reported Sunday.
The media report has triggered lots of discussion online, as some Net users hailed the administration's move while some said authorities should give better protection to dialects in a bid to protect the culture.
According to a survey conducted by sina.com.cn on Sunday, over 66 percent of 11,151 respondents voted against the administration's move, with many saying that the move showed little respect toward various cultures in different places around China.
Some also said that local TV stations should have the right to make programs with local characteristics, including dialects, which will not harm Chinese culture. Supporters said that the move will be good for the country's unity as Putonghua benefits the communication of people nationwide.