Chinese broadcasters told to forget ratings, push socialism
Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

China has called on TV and radio stations to ignore ratings and “vulgarity” in their programming and promote socialist values instead, state media reported today. China keeps a tight grip on its state-owned broadcasters, but market reforms have spawned increasingly outrageous shows, including reality TV, to attract viewers and advertising revenue.

The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) urged broadcasters to boycott bad taste, “build harmonious culture and provide noble and rich programming for the masses”, Xinhua news agency said. ”They should rely on quality and innovative programming, and outstanding ideological, artistic and attractive works to draw viewers. They should not rely on vulgarity to cater to a minority’s low-grade interests,” SARFT was quoted as saying.

Last week, SARFT issued a list of rules governing the airing of “Happy Boys Voice” - China’s latest take on the “American Idol” TV series - urging the singing contest to uphold high moral standards and avoid “weirdness, vulgarity and low taste”.
”Super Girls” - a smash hit that amassed over 400 million viewers for its final round - was criticised for its acid-tongued judges and for degrading contestants.

In January, SARFT flagged programming restrictions during prime-time viewing hours to create a “harmonious” environment ahead of a major Communist Party leadership meeting in the second half of the year. The creation of a “harmonious society” is the doctrine of President Hu Jintao as China seeks to remove the causes of social tension.

(Source: Reuters)