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SARFT: TV Documentaries to be Submitted for Approval before Shooting

China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) recently issued a "Notice on the implementation of the system of announcing the subject of TV documentaries." The Notice stipulated that, to further boost the market for TV documentaries and to avoid duplication of subject matter and waste resources, starting in 2013, the subject of TV documentaries must be submitted for examination and approval.

Although SARFT did not specify which types of TV documentaries fall under the above regulation, contemporary subjects that involve the corruption of senior officials or promoting multi-party democratic mechanisms are usually strictly scrutinized, in addition to the subjects of violence and pornography.

According to the new policy, 1) those productions of TV documentaries that have been prohibited under the jurisdiction of the central government, documentaries that are to be jointly produced by Chinese and foreign organizations, and imported documentaries, need to submit directly to SARFT; 2) those to be produced or imported by the military must first be submitted to the PLA’s General Political Department before final submission to SARFT; 3) those to be produced or imported under the jurisdiction of local governments must first be submitted to local radio, film, and television authorities before finally being submitted to SARFT.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 22, 2013