Digital Media

Chinese media told to 'shut down' talk that makes country look bad

Weibo and two other sites were hit with an order from the Chinese government to block any "negative talk" about the country's affairs.

A woman views the Chinese social media w

China wants streaming service providers such as Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, to remove all audio and visual content that discuss public affairs negatively.

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Being an internet business in China appears to be getting tougher. 

Chinese broadcasters, including social media platform Weibo, streamer Acfun and media company Ifeng were told to shut down all audio and visual content that cast the country or its government in bad light, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television posted on its website on Thursday, saying they violate local regulations.

"[The service providers] broadcast large amounts of programmes that don't comply with national rules and propagate negative discussions about public affairs. [The agency] has notified all relevant authorities and … will take measures to shut down these programmes and rectify the situation," reads the statement.  

China is notorious for its stifling control over the internet and the media. The country ranks 176th out of 180 countries on the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, and its president Xi Jinping is listed as a "press freedom predator" and an "enemy of the Internet" by Reporters without Borders. The statement comes after revised regulations granting the government even more control took effect less than a month ago.

Acfun and Weibo acknowledged the order on their official Weibo accounts and said they will strengthen content management on their respective platforms in compliance with the regulations. In the post, Weibo added that only users that have obtained a license from the government are allowed to broadcast audio and visual content on the platform.

First published June 23, 1:31 a.m. PT.
Update, 3:12 a.m. PT: Added Weibo's response. 

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