China to restrict broadcast of entertainment shows during prime time

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/6 21:53:39

China will restrict the broadcast of entertainment TV programs and reality shows during prime time, a move aimed at containing vulgar contents on television and spreading positive energy.

China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) issued a notice recently, saying that the time for broadcasting entertainment programs, such as variety shows and reality shows, should be regulated in order to contain the hyping of pop stars, the People's Daily said in a report on its WeChat public account Saturday, adding that TV series with sensitive topics should not be broadcast during prime time.

Moreover, programs should invite distinguished celebrities with high artistic and moral standards, which will have an educational value for the society, said the report.

TV programs which educate the public about public welfare, culture and economy or those featuring Chinese culture should be encouraged to be broadcast during prime time, said the SAPPRFT.

"These policies are very necessary because they will effectively regulate China's current chaotic entertainment market, which prioritizes eye-catching contents," said Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China.

In April, Jinri Toutiao, or "Today's Headlines," one of the most popular mobile news apps in China which claims to have more than 63 million readers per day, was found to be regularly sharing eye-catching photos of sexy girls that were linked to a live-broadcasting platform named Huoshan Zhibo, which was later found to contain pornographic content, reported China Central Television.

Also, the hyping of pop stars is not in accordance with promoting socialist core values as the paparazzi always highlight the sexual, violent and immoral side of these celebrities, said Wang.

In June, Sina Weibo closed 19 accounts that fabricated rumors and damaged other people's reputation.

Among the list is Zhuo Wei, dubbed as China's No.1 paparazzi. With 7 million followers before the account was shut down, Zhuo created a wave on Sina Weibo in June by revealing that actress Bai Baihe was "secretly dating" and "flirting" with a young male model in Thailand. The "extramarital affair" soon dominated the entertainment headlines.

Apart from these programs, SAPPRFT also said that programs with foreign elements should also not appear during prime time. 

The government should scrutinize programs that promote foreign culture and programs which are made in foreign countries, said Luo Ping, a media expert with the Communication University of China.

"Without careful examination, these foreign programs could easily deliver negative or harmful messages about our country, which will have a huge social impact," said Luo.

In its answer to a netizen's question about why Canadian celebrity Justin Bieber was banned from performing in China, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture said in July that "as far as we know, as a celebrity, he frequently misbehaves in his social life and performances, which has aggrieved the public." Bieber became controversial in China for visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's militarism, in 2014.

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