China looks to ban foreign TV shows at prime time and restrict online streaming
A draft law demands both TV stations and online platforms to limit foreign content to a maximum 30 percent of total screen time
The law would potentially ban foreign TV programs in evening prime time, defined as 7-10 p.m.
The new regulation also focuses on foreign news programs, stressing that no organizations or individuals are allowed to air foreign current affairs shows.
The draft will be available for public consultation for a period of 30 days starting from Thursday.
China’s netizens are not taking the news too well. Angry posts flooded Weibo on Thursday after the news went viral online. But many netizens’ comments were quickly censored from social media just hours after posting.
And the regulation comes as a massive number of Western TV shows have become easier than ever to access in China. Even a show like Game of Thrones is officially available on Tencent Video, albeit in a significantly neutered form.
The first season of Game of Thrones was even featured on state media CCTV back in 2014 -- but it was aired at 10 p.m. after the prime time slot.
Another notable addition in this draft to the existing law is that foreign talent cannot make up more than one-fifth of the talent in a Chinese TV drama. More specifically, the director and writer cannot both be foreigners in a TV show, and the leading actor and actress also cannot both be foreigners.