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SARFT goes after online video, again

SARFT

A spokesman for the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced yesterday that some original drama series and films on video websites like Youku.com and Tudou.com don’t meet government censorship standards and contain unacceptable dirty language, violence and sex. In the future, original productions for the internet will need to be approved by SARFT before they can go live.

The SARFT statement says the new moves are because of ‘an outcry from Internet users and industry needs’ (据网民的呼声和业界的要求).

Internet users themselves do not appear to be impressed. A search on Sina Weibo for SARFT (广电局) results mostly in complaints about SARFT’s intentions, such as the following:

According to the demands of Internet users, SARFT should be disbanded
(应广大网民要求,撤销广电局吧 From YOU-are-not-TOO)

This is not the first time SARFT has announced moves designed to tame Internet video, although there have not been any well-publicized or aggressive moves from the famously stodgy regulator for a few years. Below is a brief history of SARFT ongoing desire to control online video as seen on Danwei:

August 2006
SARFT attacks Internet video
Online video tainted by spoofs
The General Administration of Anxiety about Radio, Film and TV

December 2006
SARFT clamps down on “online TV stations”

March 2007
Tudou: online video problems

March 2008
Has SARFT gone insane? The travails of Tudou and Tang Wei

June 2008
Video website licenses for 247 sites – Big Three left in the cold

October 2008
SARFT shuts down 10 video websites, warns others for content

Other links and sources:
Tech in Asia: China’s SARFT to Censor Original Internet Video, Criminalize Rainbows, Ban All Fun
The Beijing Times / QQ: 广电总局:网络剧微电影将一律先审后播
China News Net / QQ: 中国加强网络剧微电影等网络视听节目管理
SARFT: 广电总局新闻发言人就《关于进一步加强网络剧、微电影等网络视听节目管理的通知》答记者问