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SARFT to Step up Regulation of Entertainment Programs on Satellite Channels

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, recently issued an order for nationwide satellite channels to “improve the quantity of news programs and to regulate some broadcasters so as to prevent the trend of vulgar or ‘overly entertaining’ programs, and to satisfy the public’s demand for varied, multilevel, and high quality viewing.”

The order emphasized that "satellite channels are mainly for the broadcast of news propaganda and should expand the proportion of news, economic, cultural, science, educational, children’s, and documentary programming." Each satellite channel has been directed to run at least two hours of news broadcasts daily between 6:00 a.m. and 24:00 a.m., produce at least two episodes of news programming daily between 6:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. each of which shall be at least 30 minutes long, and launch an ideological and moral education program to promote “Chinese traditional virtue and the socialist core value system.” It also imposed the restriction that all nationwide satellite channels as a whole have no more than nine entertainment programs daily between 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., with up to two programs for each channel not to exceed 90 minutes in total.

The order required that the provincial radio and television administrative authorities are to establish professionally staffed and dedicated review agencies to track the issue of programs being overly entertaining and vulgar. Where there are problems in political and value orientation, style, and tone, actions may include measures such as criticism, instructed corrections, warnings, an adjustment of air time, or being taken off the air, depending upon the nature and severity of the problem.

Source: Xinhua, October 25, 2011