SARFT and GAPP to Merge

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The long-heralded restructuring of State Council ministries and departments was finally announced today. As had been anticipated, the General Administration of Press and Publications and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television will merge into a new body, the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television (guojia xinwen chuban guangbo dianying dianshi zongju 国家新闻出版广播电影电视总局). The National Copyright Administration, a subordinate department of GAPP, will also be brought into the SAPPRFT, an unfortunate moniker if ever there was one. It had been expected earlier that the Ministry of Culture would be brought into this merger as well, but this has not happened. According to the SCMP, this is due to a perceived functional difference: the Ministry of Culture is there to provide cultural products and services to the public, while GAPP and SARFT represented the voice of the administration.

The official statement released in the People’s Daily indicates the merger will ensure better management over the different media and culture sectors governed by the new body. QQ reports that this may lead to a reduction of overlap in licensing and supervision procedures, and ensures the culture administration will be better able to respond to the development of converged products and services. Convergence had stimulated both organizations to expand bureaucratic remits and control emerging, lucrative markets such as Internet broadcasting, leading to large amounts of red tape and licensing procedures for enterprises in the field. It should not be expected, however, that this merger will lead to any form of liberalization or deregulation. It is likely that cultural and media policy will remain in line with the Central Committee Decision on Cultural Reform of late 2011, which aimed to combine commercial success with enhanced political control. Also, problems of administrative overlap and dual licensing remain, particularly in the field of Internet management, as the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology maintain their respective Internet portfolios.

5 thoughts on “SARFT and GAPP to Merge

    […] Though their anticipated absorption by the Ministry of Culture did not materialize, two major media regulators are to merge. But the China Copyright and Media blog cautioned that halving the number of organs was unlikely to mean less…: […]

    […] forces (wenhuazongdui), where the local SARFT bureau is already represented. Rogier Creemer’s post discusses the new merger as […]

    […] As I wrote at the time that the merger was announced, I am convinced that this move is primarily an effort towards greater efficiency in media governance, and a response to technological developments, particularly in the field of converged media, that have brought the portfolios of SARFT and GAPP much closer together. Development of the media sector has become an increasingly high priority for the leadership over recent years, and the large number of administrative hoops, as well as overlap between different departments is widely seen as one of the structural factors impeding the success of local cultural goods and services. The list of abolished approval procedures seem to suggest that there is a willingness to do away with some unnecessary red tape, as well as a shift of attention away from technologies, such as CDs and radio, that are becoming less popular. […]

    […] Now, let’s sum up the main points of the June 18 circular from the now dizzyingly named “State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television” (国家新闻出版广电总局) — the combined agency created from the former GAPP and SARFT last year. […]

    Revisiting China’s “Pun Ban”: Five Points said:
    January 20, 2015 at 7:35 am

    […] and Publication and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of the same rank were merged into a single ministerial-level body, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Televion. Despite the merger, […]

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