China's Television Regulator Cracks Down on Interview Programs

March 20, 2006

Less than a week after issuing two notices intended to regulate the political and moral lives of television editors, reporters, and presenters, China’s State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television has issued another notice, this time calling for a crackdown on unauthorized television content and increased screening of discussion and interview programs. Under the "Notice Regarding Strengthening the Supervision of Radion and Television Discussion Programs" that SARFT issued on December 10, Chinese television stations (which are all government-run) must:

  • "ensure the proper guidance of public opinion," "emphasize political orientation," and "put stability first;"
  • only air programs that "comply with propaganda [i.e., Communist Party] discipline," and that have been produced by government-licensed production companies, and screened by government officials;
  • strengthen their supervision over program topics, guest selection, and host guidance, and watch out for guests who might hold "borderline" views;
  • increase their control over what radio and television interview program hosts say on the air.