Chinese authorities warn Web video services over content, reinforce need to censor

Chinese authorities warn Web video services over content, reinforce need to censor

The Chinese government has turned its attention to increase in original and user-generated content on the country’s Web video services to ensure that all videos are ‘closely examined’ and of a suitable nature before they go live to the Internet.

The People’s Daily reports that two government agencies — The State Internet Information Office and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television — reached out to providers like Sina and Youku, which announced a deal with NBC yesterday, to inform them that they will be held responsible for all content posted to their services.

While many firms are working to broker deals for original content, the government wants to see an increase in self-censorship and management of sensitive and unsuitable video content on China’s Web space.

The circular from the two agencies reportedly said that ‘good’ Web series and micro films can help develop a positive Web culture, “but some online programs contain seriously vulgar and violent content. A few shows even use lewd and gory scenes as a publicity stunt, stirring up controversy on the Internet.”

“Netizens urged the government to protect child viewers from those disturbing and misleading pictures. So the intention is to build a healthy environment for online programming,” it continued.

Where necessary, content should be censored in advanced being published, the agencies said, before warning that “punishments will be handed out to video sites that are found not to carry out the censoring task”.

To help manage the issue, the government has called on the online video industry to form an ‘association of censors’, which will act to ensure that all industry players adhere to the rules.

Chinese authorities have been actively working to ‘clean up’ the country’s Internet and have applied considerable pressure to influential Twitter-like ‘Weibo’ microblog services, which culminated in the introduction of a real-name rule to ensure that all users had verified their identity with official ID.

With China’s online video sites increasingly influential, as smartphone ownership grows and the $1 billion Youku-Tudou merger moves closer to completion, the state has also turned its attention to the growingmedium.

Image via Flickr / Roland

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