Three Mainland online portals shut down

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticises the decision by the Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) in China to shut down three popular video and audio streaming services.

According to state-owned Xiahua, on June 22, the SAPPRFT ordered the shutdown of three popular video and audio streaming services, claiming that ‘mainly politically-related programs were aired’. The three portals included social media platform Sina/Weibo, news portal and AcFun, an online video site. The Xiahua report said that SAPPRFT accused the platforms of airing ‘many politically-related programs that do not conform with state rules and social commentary programs that propagate negative remarks and opinions’. Under the current system, all media must obtain a permit from SAPPRFT to broadcast/live stream, however none of the three platforms that were shut down had obtained the permits. The SAPPRFT claims that it has repeatedly asked websites to apply for certificates before offering audio and video programs.

Recently, online audio and videos services and live-streaming services have become the latest target in the governments monitoring projects. A number of online websites including the popular website Tencent have been warned and punished by the SAPPFRT for providing ‘illegal’ services.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The SAPPFRT continues to suppress freedom of expression and press freedom with the shutting down of websites. This latest move shows the increasing extent that the authorities will go to control the flow of information across China. The Constitution of China guarantees the people’s rights to press freedom and freedom of expression, yet the authorities continue to impede on their rights.”

We urge Nie Chenxi, the Director of SAPPRFT, to investigation the latest case and thoroughly review the relevant outdated policy.  

Further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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