Audio-sharing platform removes religious content

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/28 22:08:39

Some religious contents on a popular audio-sharing platform in China have been removed after being notified by the government that the platform lacked qualification to examine religion-related programs.

A user named "xiaodelan shuwu" on Ximalaya FM, a Shanghai-based platform, claimed on social networking app WeChat on Monday that their uploaded programs about Christianity had been removed from their account without notice.

After the user sent queries to the platform via e-mail, he was told that his contents are about "foreign religion" and the platform is not qualified to examine any religion-related content.

Other listeners also claimed that the religious programs they were following disappeared on Tuesday. An app user named "liuyue wodetian" posted on Weibo that he couldn't access many of the programs he liked, while another user "niuniuanni anniestaya" said she felt lucky that she had downloaded some audio programs yesterday.

An employee from Ximalaya FM said on Tuesday that they started to withdraw the religion-related content on their platform on Monday after being told by the government that they lacked qualification to audit these programs.

"We will continue to remove batches of religious content from the platform in the coming days, including those related to Buddhism and Christianity," the anonymous employee said.

The employee said that users should wait for further notice on their website about when the religion-related programs will be allowed to be uploaded again.

The Cyberspace Administration of China did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, said on Tuesday that the businesses have higher risk in dealing with religious programs as religion remains a sensitive subject in China, adding that the withdrawal of the religion-related audio pieces echoes recent policy tightening for online programs.

Wang told the Global Times that the timing was also important because China is preparing to hold the annual sessions of its top legislature and top political advisory body.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a document on December 2016 strengthening the regulation of video and audio programs on social media platforms, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Platforms must monitor if their contents are suitable according to "various requirements for managing video and audio programs," the press and publication regular said.

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