We all know the Chinese government is keeping a close eye on what content can be found on the Internet. China is not exactly known for freedom of speech or making information easily accessible. Various broadcasters and media platforms have been put on notice regarding broadcasts putting China or its government in a negative spotlight. This is another clear example of how censorship is enforced by oppressive governments.
China Doesn’t Want Bad PR
It is understandable governments are not too happy when negative press gains mainstream traction. Reading about how a government official did X or Y wrong is not fun, even though such information deserved to be shared. Contrary to what the Chinese government may want to believe, negative information deserves to be known by the public as well. However, if it is up to government officials, that situation will come to a halt very soon.
More specifically, the Chinese government has warned local broadcasters regarding what they can and cannot share with the public. Any negative news regarding China or its government will be banned from now on. This appears to be a rather drastic decision, as this is a clear example of censorship. According to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, airing the “dirty laundry” violated local regulations.
It has to be said, this is quite an interesting turn of events. According to the government, all of the notified broadcasters share large amounts of programs with the public. However, a lot of this information doesn’t comply with national rules. Moreover, there are seemingly more broadcasts regarding negative discussions about public affairs. This seems to indicate the local government isn’t doing the job to the best of their abilities, yet no one is supposed to know about these things, it seems.
It is believed the agency will take measures: to shut down these programs airing the dirty laundry of China and its government. Considering the agency contacted both traditional and online broadcasters, it remains to be seen how this new “rule” will be executed. It is possible some broadcasters may effectively lose their license or suffer from major government repercussions, including fees and potentially even jail time.
It is not the first time we see such drastic actions taken by the Chinese government regarding censorship and freedom of speech. The country ranked in the bottom 5 countries on the 2017 World Press Freedom Index. It is evident freedom of speech and China will never be two peas in a pod, and one can only expect harsh measures like this to become even more common in the future. In fact, the government has recently been granted more control over the Internet and broadcasts in May of this year.
Interestingly enough, it looks as if some broadcasters are taking this new guideline to heart. Both Weibo and Acfun have made a post on their official Weibo accounts to state how they will enforce stricter content management. For Chinese companies, complying with new regulations is a top priority. No one wants to lose a license or face severe punishment for disregarding the rules. Moreover, Weibo will only allow users to broadcast if they have the proper government license to do so.
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