Shows need grading system

By Xin Zhiming ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-29 10:11:41

Shows need grading system
Battle for the small screen
Shows need grading system
Traditional TV facing challenge from the Web
This is exactly why many people support the recent campaign to cleanse the Internet. Many people have been criticizing major Chinese Internet companies for using salacious contents to attract hits. In the ongoing drive, some of Internet portal Sina Corp's channels were found to have pornographic contents. The portal will now be stripped of two online publication and distribution licenses.

There is nothing wrong with the regulation as such. It is the way it is being implemented that has created a controversy.

If regulatory measures can increase transparency and inform the public why some shows, and not others, have been banned, the policy will win more people's support. Or else, the audience will be confused and forced to question why normal shows like The Big Bang Theory has been banned and Da Vinci's Demons, which has a lot of violent and sexual content, is still being telecast. Media reports say that many film directors and TV professionals have complained that they were simply informed that their movies or shows could not be shown without being told why.

Regulators, therefore, should devise clear rules on the issue and properly inform the companies making or introducing movies and TV shows about them, so that they know where the boundary lies. This will help them to avoid unnecessary loss of business and, more importantly, protect the rights of their audiences.

The reason for the latest ban remains unknown. Besides, no one knows whether the shows will be allowed to go on air after proper editing and how long the process will take.

Transparency can also help clear public suspicion about regulators taking advantage of the Internet-cleansing campaign to favor some companies.

In the long term, however, a legally bound grading system has to be put in place to resolve the issue. The opinions of all the related parties, such as regulators, movie companies, TV stations and audiences, should be solicited before devising the rules. This will ensure that the rules are fair and protect the legitimate interests of all parties.

Regulation would become easier and more persuasive once such a law-based grading system is in place.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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