China bans television talent shows in prime time

BEIJING Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:44am BST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned television talent shows screening in prime time and told contestants and anchors to behave themselves, in the latest media cleanup ahead of a major Communist Party meeting next month.

Talent shows featuring contestants in tears, singing provocative songs and mocking judges have flourished in China since "Super Girl" made by Hunan TV, China's take-off of U.S. "American Idol", became a smash hit in 2005.

Friday's move by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) was to further "resist vulgarity" in television programmes, the media watchdog said on its Web site (www.sarft.gov.cn) on Friday.

"Currently, some television talent shows have vulgar problems concerning the design, judges, performance of the contestants, which have damaged the media image and caused strong reactions from viewers," it said in a statement.

"The performing style, language, hair and clothing of the contestants must be in line with the taste of the masses," SARFT said.

The watchdog has issued a series of regulations concerning television programmes this year, in part to create a "harmonious" media environment ahead of October's 17th Party Congress, a five-yearly meeting at which key Communist Party leadership posts and policies are set for the next five years.

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