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China limits “foreign” shows

China’s media regulator has placed strict limits on foreign produced and even “foreign inspired” programming. The rule is designed to boost innovation of home-grown programming.

BBC Monitoring is reporting that “overseas” programmes with imported formats and copyrights are not allowed to be broadcast on satellite TV channels without the approval of local regulators and a complete filing procedure, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said in a notice issued June 19th.

Chinese satellite TV channels have in recent years acquired formats or copied the models of a number of foreign TV programmes and in so doing making them popular TV programmes in the country.

For instance, the Running Man series broadcast in Zhejiang TV Channel copied an entertainment programme of SBS TV in the Republic of Korea, and another popular programme, The Voice of China, was “inspired” by Endemol’s The Voice.

The broadcast of those foreign-inspired programmes should be firstly put on records in local provincial regulators two months in advance, and the local regulators will report to the SAPPRFT after approving.

All satellite TV channels are permitted to broadcast only two programme/series with imported copyrights during prime time from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm annually. Only one new programme is allowed to broadcast every year, but it cannot be broadcast during the prime time in the first year, the notice said.

Effective July 1st, newly-imported TV programmes will be banned from being broadcast immediately if it has not been added to the approval process. Furthermore, any TV channel breaching these restrictions will be banned from broadcasting any foreign-inspired programmes for one year.

The Xinhua News Agency, quoted by BBC Monitoring, says: “Only self-innovated TV programmes with Chinese cultural inheritance and characteristics can better carry the Chinese Dream themes, the socialist core values, as well as patriotism and Chinese fine traditions, the notice said, adding that those homemade programmes can tell Chinese stories and advocate Chinese spirit better. The SAPPRFT urged all TV institutions to view original programmes as the core of their work, especially increasing the proportion of original programmes in prime time in the evening.”

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