Only “Ethically Inspiring TV Series” in Prime Time

China’s broadcasting watchdog will impose stricter restrictions over prime time TV series from February 2007, an official has said.

The country’s satellite TV stations should only screen "ethically inspiring TV series" during prime time, said Wang Weiping, an official in charge of TV programs under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

The restrictions will go into effect beginning February and last for at least eight months, according to Wang.

The SARFT has instituted a four-level censorship system for homemade TV series. Before being screened, homemade TV series must be vetted by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and by the SARFT.

"The restrictions will ensure a better TV environment. Only the TV series of the best qualities will be shown on the screens," Wang said, requiring that TV stations, which are all government-owned in the country, better cooperate with individual directors in TV series production.

Reports from QQ.com, a popular Web portal in China, said the restrictions had been imposed with an eye on the 17th National Congress of the CPC which is scheduled to convene in Beijing in the second half of this year.

Wang confirmed that the new measure is taken to greet the congress meeting.

In addition, all prime time TV programs broadcasted in China are required to keep script and video records for future censorship against vulgarity, Wang said.

Liu Junzeng, director of the radio and television bureau of Pingshan county government in Hebei Province, has been sacked after the local television broadcasted a TV advertisement having "unhealthy contents" on the night of January 16.

The SARFT has previously imposed several restrictions on TV programs, including a ban on foreign cartoons during prime time from last September, and a crackdown on "vulgar reality shows" earlier this month.

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