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China bans adverts during TV drama broadcasts

China’s broadcasting body has declared radio and television ideological “battlefields”.

Image: Patrick Dinnen via Creative Commons/Flickr

CHINA IS TO ban the broadcasting of advertisements during television dramas from the beginning of January in order to “raise the standards of public cultural services” and “unify thinking”.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) stated that the move, which is the latest of a string of state-run broadcasting reforms, will “protect the people’s basic cultural rights”.

The SARFT declared on its website: “Radio and television are important mouthpieces of the [Communist] Party and the people and are important battlefields in publicity and ideology”.

Drama series, talent contests and dating shows are extremely popular in China, with a typical drama programme lasting about 45 minutes.

The move was decided upon in October, during the yearly five-day meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee, Reuters reports.

Adjunct professor of Chinese history at the University of Hong Kong, Willy Wo-Lap Lam, told Bloomberg that party leaders were using an economic disincentive to tackle what they perceived to be “vulgar and in some cases anti-socialist” messages inherent in advertising.

In April, outdoor advertising was banned in Beijing over fears that it promoted “hedonism, lavishness and the worship of foreign things”, reports Bloomberg.

Premier Wen Jiabao has cited several incidences of what he terms ‘moral decline’ in Chinese society, including the distribution of tainted formula that resulted in the deaths of at least six babies in April.

Another incident noted was the death of a two-year-old girl in October, who died following hit-and-run traffic accident; after the toddler was struck, passers-by ignored her as she lay injured on the side of the road – possibly over fears of becoming legally liable.

Read: China plans to limit ‘overly entertaining’ reality TV shows>

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