SARFT orders ‘gifting’ ads off the air

By Shen Shushu Source:Global Times Published: 2013-2-7 0:58:01

China's TV watchdog on Tuesday ordered local radio and television channels to stop playing commercials that blatantly encourage giving gifts to officials.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a statement that some commercials broadcast on some channels support a culture of gift giving to superiors that  include luxury watches, rare stamps and gold coins. This has spread incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos, SARFT was quoted as saying in a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

The broadcasters have asked ad agencies to make changes if their advertisements contravene the rule, said a staffer working for the advertising department of Zhejiang Satellite Television.

"Unqualified advertisements will be stopped from being broadcast until they are modified," he told the Global Times Wednesday, adding that it would not take long to modify them as advertising agencies usually produce several versions of a commercial for the same product.

The move is in response to the central government's repeated calls for people to practice thrift and avoid extravagance and waste, a SARFT spokesman was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

In the statement, the broadcasting authority also urged local channels to produce more public service messages and give them more exposure, in order to promote Chinese traditions and civilized lifestyles, as radio and television channels are important cultural and ideological strongholds.

No one expected such a sudden policy change from the central authority, as usually the contracts between broadcasting channels and advertising agencies only regulate airtime rather than the content, said Zhang Yipeng, a business affairs manager of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, an advertising agency with its headquarters based in the United States.

"Normally contracts in the trade have a clause stating that the commercials should not break the laws and policies of the country, therefore the channels will be exempted from having to take responsibility for remaking the new advertisements," Zhang told the Global Times Wednesday, adding that product makers and ad agencies will cover the cost of changing slogans and making new versions of the ads.

During a December 4 meeting presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the newly-elected Party leadership pledged to reject extravagance and reduce wasteful bureaucratic visits and meetings, in a bid to enhance the trust and support of the people.

Yin Hong, vice dean of the Journalism and Communication School at Tsinghua University, said the government set a correct target but it has adopted coarse-grained methods, which do not allow for an appropriate buffer period.

"After all, all the commercial contracts meet the current rules and the market economy ought to be respected. It is unfair to immediately let enterprises bear all the losses," Yin said on his Sina weibo early Wednesday.

Zhou Boyang contributed to this story


Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus