The mainland's media regulator has banned regional radio and television broadcasters from teaming up with foreign media organisations in broadcasting operations. The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (Sarft) announced the ban on Tuesday in what is believed to be a clampdown on recent attempts by regional broadcasters to use foreign capital to beef up station programming, administration and advertising. 'Radio stations and television stations are not allowed to rent their channels to overseas institutions, co-operate with overseas institutions in joint ventures or co-operative projects, or launch any joint venture radio and television programmes or live broadcasts,' the administration announced on its website. Sarft said regional radio and television stations would also have to pass through a strict assessment process to gain access to international conventions, seminars, festivals and programme activities involving foreign media groups. Sarft and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would also monitor involvement by domestic media stations in events with international media personnel and organisations. Authorities have kept tight control of foreign access to mainland media, but a more liberal stance last year allowed radio and television stations to set up production joint ventures and allowed foreign-made programmes to be broadcast. The 2004 regulations also gave scope for television drama co-productions, but were silent on foreign involvement in the management of stations. Some local radio and television operators decided not to wait for a Sarft ruling on how they could work with foreign investors on channel management. Qinghai Cable TV, a non-profit channel in the western province of Qinghai, is reportedly seeking to clinch a deal to enable the selling of advertising to a joint venture involving News Corp. At the same time, News Corp would have been able to broadcast Star Group programmes to mainland audiences through the platform provided by the station. 'The business development section of News Corp was busy preparing for co-operation with Qinghai Cable TV, which was believed to be aimed at getting their programmes to Chinese audiences in all provinces,' a Beijing-based source said. News Corp declined to comment yesterday. Renmin University media professor Yu Guoming said local media, particularly television stations, were struggling to survive under the weight of regulations and China Central Television's monopoly on content, broadcasting channels and advertising. 'They wanted to experiment with production and advertising management to find alternatives, but their speedy moves to work with foreign investors were too fast and have scared media authorities,' Professor Yu said.