China plans to abolish the regulatory body that is in charge of the nation’s press, TV, Radio, and film industry – the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
SAPPRFT will be replaced by a cabinet-level radio and television administration which responds directly to the State Council, documents released this week show. The plan will be debated in the national legislative session this week.
The final goal is to tighten the grip of the ruling Communist Party on the nation’s media and entertainment.
A Chinese news agency announced that the proposal would place the media and entertainment under the direct control of State Council, aka China’s cabinet.
The nascent administration would draft policies for TV and radio and oversee their implementation. It will also coordinate new broadcasting undertakings, reform the media sectors, add new radio and TV programs, and help the sectors reach the international market.
More Mergers Coming
The decision is one of the administrative mergers proposed for a vote at the country’s annual parliamentary sessions. The China National Radio, China Radio International, and China Central Television will reportedly merge into one unit.
SAPPRFT emerged in March 2013, after a similar merger of two government bodies – the General Administration of Press and Publication and State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television. The merger is still remembered as SAPPRFT or SARFT.
China is known for its strict control over technology and the media, with online censoship being known as the Great Firewall of China. Over the years, China has banned several services and companies, citing national security risks. Google, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube were banned in China.
Facebook was banned in 2009, but despite Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg numerous visits to China to reverse the ban, the ban is still in place.
Chinese users usually accessed those banned services through virtual private network (VPN) services. But those services were banned by Beijing last year, too.
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