China Forcing Webmasters to Police Video Porn

Jul 12, 2012 7:15 AM PST

BEIJING — China has launched yet another salvo in its battle against porn by forcing streaming video websites to censor themselves.

The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) issued new rules mandating that webmasters pre-screen all content deemed vulgar or violent, including porn.

Although the communist government already blocks most Western sites, the new measures also clamp down on domestic Chinese portals.

In response to a journalist’s question as to why the new rules were necessary, a government official said that although Internet video content was important to the country, he condemned programs that include "vulgar content" and "poor style" in the form of violence, porn, and swearing.

ZD Net reported that the move was prompted by concerned web users, after which Chinese officials decided to protect "young people's physical and mental health in accordance with the law" by preventing "a bad program to occupy time and space of the excellent programs."

As a result, webmasters must now take it upon themselves to block the banned content.

Guidelines mapping out details on what is inappropriate are expected to be issued soon, but no word yet on how the measure will be enforced.

The new rules put an extra burden on Chinese webmasters who will now need to find technology that will allow them to pre-screen video content.

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