China Bans “American Idol”-Style Programs to Help Promote Healthy Living for Teenagers

The National Radio and Television Administration issued a notice on Thursday in an effort to further strengthen regulations for radio and television industry workers.

The notice demands that the radio and television industry must now reject persons who violate the law and are immoral, scheme to boost their audience traffic flow and cannot broadcast idol-raising programs. People in the industry should resist unhealthy fan club culture and firmly refuse unreasonably high remuneration.

Radio and television organizations and online media platforms are required to strictly select program anchors and guests. People who violate laws and regulations, breach public order and virtue, and whose words and deeds are unethical should be banned from the industry.

The notice bans idol-cultivation programs, variety entertainment and reality shows that are put on by underaged kids and who have become famous as a result. Idol programs need to set up strict voting permissions, and cannot set up links nor channels for off-site voting, chart beating and boosting traffic volume. Regulations now strictly forbid any seduction or encouragement of fans to spend their money to vote by way of purchasing goods or platform memberships, and resolutely resist any sort of unhealthy fan club culture.

The notice requires the industry to create a standard for broadcast requirements and to screen actors and guests, costumes, makeup and performance styles. Video platforms cannot promote content that ostentatiously shows off one’s wealth, spreads scandalous gossip, discusses negative topics currently trending, nor foster any sort of vulgar “online celebrity” profile.

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The industry also needs to enforce regulations on how much actors and guests can earn through their platforms. Actors and guests need to be encouraged to be socially responsible and to participate in public welfare programs. Finally, platforms need to deal with any violations of the remuneration limits, investigate “duplicate contracts” and any efforts to evade tax responsibilities.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published an article on its official website on August 5, saying that the “chaotic” fan club culture exposed by the recent “Kris Wu Incident” reflects that unhealthy fan culture is now at a critical moment that must be tamped down. Such efforts require cooperation to guide the fan culture to develop in a healthy way and create a clean and positive cyberspace for netizens, especially teenagers.

Jin Xuetao, a professor at the School of Economics and Management, Communication University of China, thinks, “It is expected that through technical means and measures of media regulation and self-regulation of the entertainment industry, we can promote the formation of a model of joint growth and benign interaction between fans, stars and idols, so that the fans can move towards goodness.”