Measures to manage online programs

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The country's broadcasting and Internet watchdogs will step up their management of online programs, including website-produced shows and micro films, to ensure healthy development of the Web environment.

Good Web series and micro films can help develop a positive Web culture, and the country encourages more productions that are in good taste, according to an announcement jointly released by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the State Internet Information Office on Monday.

"But some online programs contain seriously vulgar and violent content. A few shows even use lewd and gory scenes as a publicity stunt, stirring up controversy on the Internet," said a spokesperson for the administration.

"Netizens urged the government to protect child viewers from those disturbing and misleading pictures," the spokesperson said. "So the intention is to build a healthy environment for online programming."

Under the new directive, video sites and Internet portals should be responsible for the serials and micro films that are broadcast on the sites.

The directive also requires video sites to arrange censorship before airing programs. Uncensored programs are prohibited from being shown.

Players in the online video industry are encouraged to form an association of censors, the members of which should have training programs and tests to become qualified examiners, according to the statement.

Punishments will be handed out to video sites that are found not to carry out the censoring task, the announcement said.

The country's video programming environment has been transformed since major Chinese websites started to make films themselves. Leading video sites such as Youku and are among the established players making shorts or episodes of shows, while popular Internet portals like are getting in on the action too.

One trailblazing website-produced show is Old Boys, made by Youku and China Film Group Corp, which racked up tens of millions of video views within a month when it premiered on the Internet on Oct 28, 2010.

The 43-minute film inadvertently inspired a Web-produced storytelling format known as "micro film", which has become a cultural phenomenon.

According to the 2011 China and Foreign TV Industry Report by the vice-president of China International Television Corporation, Zhang Haichao, the number of China's online program viewers is up to 40 million.

Liu Cheng, a film theorist who was involved in the recent Micro Film Grand Gala that aims to boost the development of the micro film industry, said Web-produced shows and micro films, as a new entertainment form for netizens, require guidance and supervision in order not to exert a negative effect on the masses.

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