China is tightening restrictions on on foreign and foreign-inspired television programs to protect domestic productions that promote Chinese patriotism and culture.
Satellite television channels will be prohibited to air more than two imported programs through the year during primetime from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Reuters reports, citing state news agency Xinhua.
These channels will not be allowed to broadcast programs with overseas copyright or inspired by foreign shows, such as the popular singing contest the Voice of China, without approval two months in advance, it said.
Only one such new program may be broadcast every year, but not in a primetime slot in its first year. Offenders face a one-year ban on broadcasting such programs.
The new restrictions were announced by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, China’s media wtachdog.
“Only independently innovative programs with Chinese cultural genes, characteristics and style can sustain themes of the Chinese dream, core socialist values, patriotism and outstanding Chinese cultural traditions,” the regulator said.
President Xi Jinping has embarked on an unprecedented drive to clamp down on the internet and censor opinions that do not reflect those of Communist Party leaders, including tougher penalties for what the government calls the spread of rumors via social media.
Despite government controls, foreign television shows are widely available as illegal downloads or on pirated DVDs.
Many are also available legally online through distribution deals with domestic websites.
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