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China to Put Media Under Cabinet-Level Control, Abolish SAPPRFT

Chinese President Xi Jinping claps while
AP/REX/Shutterstock

China is to abolish the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and is expected to set up a new media body answerable to the Cabinet, further tightening the Communist government’s control of media and entertainment.

SAPPRFT, the regulatory body which currently oversees the media and entertainment sector, would be replaced by a new state radio and television administration attached to the State Council, or Cabinet, according to documents released Tuesday. The proposal is being put to China’s ongoing national legislative session for deliberation.

“The proposed administration, directly under the State Council, will be responsible for drafting policies and measures for radio and television management and their implementation, coordinating development of broadcasting undertakings and industries, promoting institutional reform in the sectors, importing radio and television programs, and facilitating the sectors to go global,” said official news agency Xinhua.

The move is one of several administrative mergers within the Chinese government, announced in the past days and being voted on at China’s annual parliamentary sessions.

It is also expected that China Central Television, China Radio International and China National Radio may be merged to form a new state broadcasting giant.

SAPPRFT was itself formed from a merger of regulatory bodies in March 2013. The government combined the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) with the General Administration of Press and Publication. The merger is sufficiently recent that many people in the entertainment industry still refer to SAPPRFT as SARFT.