Chinese censors are clamping down on foreign TV shows, videos

September 21, 2018
Industry News
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Alice Yan
alice.yan@scmp.com

Watchdog’s proposals will limit screen time for overseas programmes, require shows to be submitted for approval

Chinese audiences could soon find it harder to access their favourite foreign television shows under new rules proposed by the broadcasting watchdog.

According to a draft released by the National Radio and Television Administration on Thursday, television stations and online video platforms will be allowed to allocate no more than 30 per cent of their daily screen time to programmes produced overseas.

All foreign shows must also be submitted for approval to the authority before their release, and cannot be shown on television during the prime time hours of 7pm to 10pm.

While the restriction on screen time appears to be a loosening of a similar guideline introduced in 2012, which set the proportion at 25 per cent, the initial cap applied only to television broadcasts and not video websites.

The new proposals, which are available for public comment until the middle of next month, also stipulate that with the exception of television series, films, cartoons and documentaries, all foreign programmes must be submitted for editing and repackaging before being screened.

This would include all education, culture, science and technology, arts and sports shows.

For programmes made in China the administration is proposing a 20 per cent cap on the number of foreign actors and production staff they can employ. The quota does not apply to people from Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

Another restriction on domestic productions is that the positions of director and scriptwriter cannot both be held by foreigners, including people from Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. Similarly, the male and female lead actors cannot both be foreigners.

Existing regulations that prevent the broadcast of foreign media news and political reports will remain unchanged. 

“Introducing and circulating overseas programmes should help to enrich people’s spiritual life, learn from the world’s outstanding cultural achievements and promote equal communication between China and foreign countries on the cultural front,” the administration said in a statement. Continue Reading 

 

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