China further tightens media regulations controlling foreign participation in television and the distribution of foreign online games and newspapers.


BEIJING (The Hollywood Reporter) -- China has moved to further tighten media regulations controlling foreign participation in television and the distribution of foreign online games and newspapers, citing concerns about the spread of pornography and violence, local news reports said Aug. 3.

China "will not again allow a foreign satellite TV station to have landing rights in the country," the official Xinhua news agency said, citing new rules from domestic regulators.

The Walt Disney Co.'s application for a limited broadcasting license in 2003 could be most directly affected by the ban on new stations.

News Corp. and Hong Kong-based Phoenix already have mass broadcast deals in China, while Hong Kong's Tom Group and Time Warner co-own a station with mass broadcast rights in Guangdong, China's wealthiest province. Time Warner's CNN and the BBC news channels and News Corp. channels operated by its Star TV subsidiary also have limited broadcasting rights.

The latest regulations follow on the heels of a ban in July on foreign participation in television stations in China and clarifies the oversight responsibility for cultural imports such as television by the six government agencies involved -- Customs, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the Ministry of Commerce, the Central Propaganda Department, the Ministry of Culture and the Press Publications Administration -- the Beijing Daily Messenger reported, citing the official Xinhua news agency.

In monitoring cultural imports, the six ministries will be looking for pornographic, violent and other harmful content, the daily newspaper reported.

In what analysts said was largely a reiteration, government regulators specified Aug. 2 that jointly-produced movies, teleplays and animation for domestic broadcast must get a license from SARFT. The regulation forbids the illegal import of foreign television programming and bans its spread online.

Foreign satellite television channels are banned in principle, and currently approved foreign television channels must operate under close supervision to prevent the entry of harmful programs.

Further, individual domestic work units -- holdovers from China's centrally planned economy -- are barred from setting up and using satellite television receivers without SARFT approval.

In the online space, the regulation says if a foreign-authored online game is published in Chinese, its content must be examined and approved by the Press Publication Administration and the Ministry of Culture.

Online games approved for import are not allowed to have their name or content altered without approval.

The regulation also dictates that foreign newspapers and magazine subscriptions must be strictly monitored, and the sale of these publications is barred by individuals or work units without approval.

Reuters contributed to this report.