China cracks down on confessional talk shows

Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:23pm EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's broadcasting watchdog has ordered a crackdown on low-brow confessional talk shows as part of a campaign against base entertainment and because such programs often fake their content, media said on Wednesday. China has seen a plethora of these television shows, mainly on regional stations, with names like "Real Love," "Here Comes the Litigant" and "Say It Like It Is," where people come on to talk about family disputes or appeal for money.

But many of them have resorted to faking their content to get higher ratings, the Xian Evening News said, in a report carried on popular Chinese web portal

"Sometimes we cannot but make up stories in order to get viewers' eyeballs, and we hire actors to do it," the newspaper quoted an unnamed television executive as saying.

The report said the crackdown was also part of a government campaign to take vulgar programs off the air.

At least one show, "Extreme Emotion Face-Off," has already been banned, it added.

Other things the censor has taken offence at have included reality shows featuring sex changes and plastic surgery and talent contests during prime-time, as well as "sexually provocative sounds" on television.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

<p>Uighur children watch television in a Friday market in Yarkand, in the region of Xinjiang April 4, 2008. REUTERS/Nir Elias</p>