China slams province for ignoring TV sex ban

Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:17am EST
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's broadcast watchdog has slammed a provincial station for ignoring an order to remove sexually explicit television programs from the air, and demanded better "spiritual food" for viewers.

In September, the regulator told two small cable channels in the central province of Hubei to stop showing "obscene" programs, but in early January the same content appear on another provincial channel.

"The order banned the showing of programs about exaggerated sexual life, sexual experiences, sexual understanding, sexual organs and the abilities of aphrodisiacs," the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said.

"Repeatedly broadcasting base and lascivious programs is serious and has had a terrible effect," it said in a statement on its Web site (www.sarft.gov.cn).

The central Hubei broadcaster, which is supposed to oversee the content of radio and television stations in the province, had failed in its supervision role, the watchdog said.

"This shows that the Hubei People's Radio and Television Station's propaganda and management abilities have serious flaws which are in urgent need of rectification," it added.

But the station got away with merely a "criticism," the statement said, without explaining why the punishment was so light.

"Provide more and better spiritual food for the masses," it added in an admonition to other provincial broadcasters.

The government has moved to crack down on increasingly free-wheeling TV broadcasters, urging them to reject "vulgarity" and "weirdness" in the pursuit of ratings and put on more wholesome shows, especially in this Olympic year.

"Happy Boys Voice," China's male-only take-off of U.S. talent show "American Idol," cut scenes involving contestants in tears, with wild hair or singing "unhealthy" songs in its first season to comply with the watchdog's demands.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)