Chinese regulators want online videos prescreened

China's broadcasting and Internet regulators instructred Internet-video providers to prescreen all programs before making them available online. The rules reportedly add another layer of red tape and censorship on popular online drama series and mini-movies.

The State Internet Information Office and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) jointly issued a circular asking online video content providers to closely examine their videos before making them available for viewing, according to a statement from SARFT, the English-language Website of state-run China Radio International reported.


The circular reportedly said that video content providers will be held responsible for the videos posted on their websites and "instructed relevant industry associations to step up self-disciplinary efforts regarding video content," the CRI report said.

SARFT, in the statement, reportedly said it was issuing the circular at the public's behest because vulgar and/or obscene content in videos is believed to negatively impact "both the mental health of young people and the development of online video content providers."

SARFT has some real sway in what goes on in the Chinese video world. It has direct control over the China Film Group Corporation, the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe, the China Council for TV Art, the Academy of Broadcasting Science, the Broadcasting Design Institute, the Radio & Television Publishing House, the China Film Art Center and the Information and Network Center and has signed radio, film and television cooperation agreements--including the exchange of news--with "over 60 countries."

It's also a participant in the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (in the name of Radio and Television of the People's Republic of China, RTPRC for short), the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development and other international organizations.

China's most popular online video provider, Youku, would seem to be the most adversely affected of all providers, but a spokeswoman from the company's public relations office (who declined to give her name) told The Associated Press it's essentially no big deal.

Youku, the PR source told AP, has hundreds of pre-screeners already examining all content uploaded to the site and "nothing with vulgar or violent materials will pass." As for the political ramifications? "If it is anti-party and anti-society, it definitely will not pass. No website will allow such content."

For more:
 - see the AP story
 - read the CRI story
 - see this government statement

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