×

China Unveils Tough Controls on Foreign Media Activities

China is dramatically increasing its restrictions on foreign media operations in the country. Foreign-owned media or joint ventures in China will not be able to publish online without prior approval.

The ban, which takes effect as of March 10, covers text content, video, maps, games, digital books, art and literature.

Notification of the new restrictions was jointly issued by the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

One of the new regulations also requires media companies to keep their servers and data storage.

The new regulations appear to be a greater tightening of restrictions that further extends state control over the Internet. China already has considerable restrictions on conventional media, and most foreign TV channels cannot operate widely in the country.

The country also operates a massive and proactive Web censorship system, commonly nicknamed the “Great Firewall of China,” which monitors social media, filters out certain websites, and is able to target individual Web pages.

Additionally, some of the largest foreign Internet companies are effectively banned from operating directly in China. They include Google (and its Gmail and YouTube products), Facebook and Twitter.

The 40 points of the new regulations appear to allow foreign content to be published by Chinese media or by approved foreign companies, but only after lengthy approvals periods that would rule out news activities.

As is typical of much Chinese regulation, the new rules appear to be simultaneously wide-reaching and vaguely drawn. That creates a large gray area of what may or may not be allowed and encourages media to err on the side of caution.

Chinese-owned media have also been told to increase their internal censorship.

The restrictions appear designed to give the authorities greater ability to keep out any material that is critical of China or presents points of view that are different from the approved political line. That spans news reporting and political commentary, but also includes social media and readers comments. It may also include the content of scientific journals.

It has also emerged that CCTV has dropped its plans to broadcast the upcoming Hong Kong Film Awards in March, because of the inclusion of “10 Years,” an independent film imagining the future of Hong Kong, among the best film nominees.

Freedom of speech and media activities in China have come under increasing control since Xi Jinping became president in 2012. At the World Internet Forum in December, Xi gave an opening speech that made clear China’s belief in a system where sovereign countries are free to control the Internet how they choose within their own borders.

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content