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Thursday, October 27, 2011

China Goes Back to Stricter Media Policies

This article I read on the New York Times website reports that the Chinese government has decided to put a stop to creeping libertarianism by slapping on stricter media regulations. In recent years China has allowed entertainment media to become Westernized just a smidgen. They have a version of "American Idol," Internet cafes are gaining popularity, and blogging has become more common. However, new restrictions set to be implemented in January will probably slow this down tremendously. 

There have always been what Americans would probably call an insane amount of Internet regulation in China. When my friend was studying abroad last semester, she kept trying to send an email to her family about protests in the area, but it kept bouncing back undelivered. The Internet regulators used a sort of keyword determination when looking at emails, and even when she made the email as vague as possible it would not go through because she was writing about the protests.

And remember when Google almost pulled out of China in 2010? Google said that China heavy search engine censoring was violating free speech, and the company considered not only shutting down the Chinese version of the search engine, but closing their offices in China, as well. They eventually did pull out, and now the only Google available to use in China is "Google Hong Kong."
The point is, China has a history of heavy censorship, so no one should be surprised by the latest restrictions:

"The most striking instance occurred Tuesday, when the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television ordered 34 major satellite television stations to limit themselves to no more than two 90-minute entertainment shows each per week, and collectively 10 nationwide. They are also being ordered to broadcast two hours of state-approved news every evening and to disregard audience ratings in their programming decisions. The ministry said the measures, to go into effect on Jan. 1, were aimed at rooting out 'excessive entertainment and vulgar tendencies.'"

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