China To Crackdown On Internet Video

    January 3, 2008

China’s Ministry of Information Industry and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television have issued new regulations concerning online video.

The new rules say that online video can be broadcast only by state-owned or state-controlled companies. The new regulations will go into effect January 31.  The policy will prohibit providers from broadcasting video that involves national secrets, damages the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography.  Providers will have to delete and report offending content.

"Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism and abide by the moral code of socialism," the rules say.

Duncan Clark

Duncan Clark, chairman of advisory firm BDA (China) said "This directive, if implemented, would be bad news for the streaming sites," The Wall Street Journal reported. The majority of China’s online video sites are run by private companies.

It’s not clear how the new rules will affect foreign based video sharing -sites that are popular in China like YouTube. That site does not have an Internet content license from the Chinese government, but Google’s Chinese search site does.

Clark said the rules are more about censorship than the regulation of the industry. "It’s clearly a question of control of information, with political content being the No.1 concern."