Note: the text of this Notice has not been made public. However, the following interview gives a good indication of the key provisions of this Notice and the consequences for Internet media enterprises.
On the 9th, a SARFT spokesperson responded to the questions of a Xinhua journalist on the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management”.
Q: Why was the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management” rolled out?
A: In recent years, network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programmes have become a kind of burgeoning network culture business model that develops quickly, and has provided new channels for enriching the popular masses’ spiritual and cultural lives, and for the popular masses to participate in cultural construction. But, vulgar content, low style, playing up violence, sex and other problems have appeared in a part of the programmes, some use obscenities continuously, some sedulously display lower-grade tastes and scenes, some completely display gory and violent acts and scenes without any form of concealing, etc. Against this, one side is that netizens react strongly, and require the government to protect the spiritual and metal health of minors according to the law; another side is that audiovisual websites devoting themselves to producing and disseminating excellent network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programmes reacted strongly, requiring government departments to restrain this timely, and prevent that bad programmes occupy the timeslots and space of excellent programmes. On the basis of the calls of netizens and the requirements of society, according to the “Internet Audiovisual Programme Management Regulations “SARFT and Ministry of Information Industry Decree No. 56), the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the State Internet Information Office have jointly promulgated the “Notice Concerning Further Strengthening Network Drama, Microfilm and Other Network Audiovisual Programme Management” (hereafter simply named “Notice”) on 9 July.
Q: How will guidance and standardization of network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programme development be achieved through the “Notice?
A: As cultural products facing the social masses, how to be able to both comply with the rules and characteristics of Internet development, and comply with persisting in the correct orientation and disseminating mainstream values, is the basic principle of government management departments in formulating policy. The “Notice” clearly points out that the State encourages production of excellent network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programmes. At the same time, the “Notice” also further clarified the measures for norm development, firstly, Internet audiovisual programme service work units, according to the principle of “who operates the web is responsible”, are to first examine and only afterwards broadcast network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programmes without exception; second, network audiovisual programme sector associations and organizations are to launch sector self-discipline; third, government management departments conduct access and exit management over professional start-up subjects according to the law.
Q: Which concrete requirements does the “Notice” put forward?
A: The Notice requires Internet audiovisual programme service work units to realistically implement start-up subject duties, bear the social responsibility of mass media, and be responsibility for the broadcasted network dramas, microfilms and other network audiovisual programmes. Before programme broadcast, they shall organize examination personnel to conduct content examination, and only after passing through examinations may programmes be broadcast online. The “Notice” requires network audiovisual programme service sector associations to vigorously launch sector self-discipline activities, organize examination personnel training and examination, firmly grasp completing and perfecting corresponding work mechanisms, guide member work units to disseminate healthy and beneficial audiovisual programmes, creating a civilized and healthy network environment. The “Notice” requires corresponding government management departments to jointly bear the responsibility for management, guide and supervise Internet audiovisual service work units within their jurisdiction to implement management requirements.