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Online Video Regulation in China: Limiting Free Speech or Turf War? August 18, 2006

Posted by NoWires in China, Web.

A recent proposal by the State Administration of Radio, Fild and Television plans to issue new regulation limiting online video sites to obtain certificates before they can release contents has stirred up a lot of attention. This looks like yet another attempt by the government to choke off outlet for free speech.

Here is another angle: There are two main ministries in China with regulatory power over internet: the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), which covers mostly telecommunications, and the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), which oversee the media industry. Guess what guys, the transition of old media onto Internet everyone is raving about has created a bit of tug of war between these two ministries. Last year MRFT shut down several IPTV trials conducted by telcos owned by MII.

To read events in China, I always keep one thing in mind: since so much of the economy is still state owned, many of the activities conducted by private enterprises or organizations in this country are carried out by the government in China. So we constantly encounter stories like these where a government agency issues regulations to protect the monopolistic status of industries under its watch. Of course, “decency” is a word all censors use defetly when it comes to curbing freespeech.



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