Media watchdog bans 60 online films

2016-11-07 00:46:11 GMT2016-11-07 08:46:11(Beijing Time) Global Times

SAPPRFT orders websites to remove movies showing obscenity, violence

China's top media watchdog has ordered removal of more than 60 online movies from video streaming websites for containing vulgarity and violence, media reported over the weekend.

The online films, including Da Fengshuishi (Fengshui Master) and Xiaomie Daxuesheng (Eliminate College Students), were removed from video streaming websites such as iQiyi and Youku within several days by the order of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), domestic technology website huxiu.com reported on Sunday, adding that the number of films being taken off the websites is increasing.

"We removed Da Fengshuishi and Xiaomie Daxuesheng for review," an anonymous employee from Youku Tudou told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that she did not know whether these films will be uploaded again.

The government has always supervised Internet films, but such large-scale removal is unprecedented, an Internet film director surnamed Zhao told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The SAPPRFT ordered the removal of the films directly without prior discussion," an insider told huxiu.com.

Online films and serials witnessed a rapid development in 2015, with the production of 379 Internet serials, an increase of 85 percent year-on-year, the China Press, Publication, Radio and Television Journal, a newspaper affiliated to SAPPRFT, reported in early September.

"Internet films and serials have gained popularity because it is easy to broadcast them on video streaming sites, which are not regulated and lack unified standard of self-censorship," He Hui, director of the Public Relations and Public Opinion Institute of the Communication University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Zhao said that strict regulation may help standardize the whole Internet film industry which has "very few good films." "But the ban will also bring great losses to the producers since it is unknown if these films will be allowed to be posted online again."

At the 24th session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee on October 31, lawmaker Sun Zhijun suggested bringing Internet films under the purview of the law to promote film industry, because of the exponential increase in Internet films, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.

Some other lawmakers also pointed out that it was necessary to regulate such films which were poorly made and aimed to attract viewers by containing violent, superstitious and pornographic contents, according to the People's Daily.

Regulating online films might be difficult as the Internet is a platform that everyone can access to, said He, suggesting that it should also be clear whether the government or the video platform will be responsible for censoring.

The China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Television Production Committee of the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television jointly issued a guideline on December 31, 2015, advising that certain types of content should not be shown in television series, such as same-sex romance, extramarital affairs and one-night stands.

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