Feeds

China's censors move to stamp out sex and violence online

Save the children from the Grass Mud Horse!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

China’s shadowy army of government censors have turned their attention to online video with strict new guidelines set to further curb freedom of expression on the internet.

The State Internet Information Office and State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) said in a statement that they want to stamp out “vulgar content”, including pornography and “scenes of bloody violence”.

Unusually for China’s censors, the departments claim that they are reacting to both industry and public pressure to clamp down on inappropriate content, in order “to protect young people's physical and mental health in accordance with the law”.

As with regulation of other online content, the government’s approach here is to ask online video sites to self-censor, screening content they produce before hitting ‘publish’ and holding them responsible if anything undesirable gets through.

However, there are no details in the statement about exactly what constitutes “vulgar” content – the ambiguity here being key to allowing censors to stamp out anything they don’t like the look of.

As David Bandurski of the University of Hong Kong explained on the China Media Project blog, SARFT is also requiring online video programmes to “adhere to correct guidance”.

“[This is] a lynchpin propaganda policy that suggests control of not just vulgar or indecent content, but also of content that in the broadest sense goes against the policies, aims or ‘spirit’ of the ruling Party,” he said.

Sites like market leader Youku, which recently bought smaller rival Tudou, are increasingly producing their own “micro films” and online video series, which is what this directive appears to be targeted at.

There is no mention of user generated content, but holding these video sites responsible for self-censorship will put a huge financial burden on them – one that the likes of web giants Sina and Tencent have already been forced to face up to. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.