Reporters Without Borders is worried about the future of blogging in China after the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) yesterday closed down 25 websites that allowed video-sharing. The SARFT said they were “obscene”, “violent” or threatened “national security or national interest.”
Thirty-two other websites including Tudou.com, one of China’s most popular video-sharing sites, were given warnings. This is the first time the authorities have applied a law concerning the regulation of audio and video files that was adopted on 31 January.
“Videos filmed by Chinese citizens are not welcome,” Reporters Without Borders said. “You now need a government licence to put videos online. Furthermore, this measure cannot be circumvented by using proxies. It has come just when it was needed by a government that is trying to control the dissemination of video footage of the unrest in Tibet. This law is a threat to news and information.”
These measures follow an investigation carried out by the SARFT from 20 December to 20 February with the aim of verifying the implementation of legislation concerning the posting of audio and video files online. Since 31 January, websites have been required to have prior government authorisation in order to disseminate videos. They are also supposed to be at least partially state-owned.
China controls the Internet very strictly. There are five major government and Communist Party bodies that control online news and information. China also has a cyber-police that monitors what Internet users do online.
This is the list of websites with videos that were closed yesterday by the SARFT: