Friday, January 04, 2008

Squeezing out net videos

YouTube fans in China may not find it easy to watch some videos when the new rules take effect.

China is to further tighten its grip on the internet and has announced strict new regulations on the broadcasting of online videos - including those posted on video-sharing websites – restricting them to sites run by state-controlled companies.

The new rules also require service providers to report questionable content to the government and "abide by the moral code of socialism".

China, the world's second-largest Internet market by users, has encouraged growth of the internet but at the same time has imposed increasingly tough controls on what can be seen online inside China.

The rules are aimed at stopping what the government calls "degenerate thinking" via the Internet and maintaining a "healthy online environment".

Pro-democracy websites are blocked, as are the sites of many international news organisations, and a force of about 30,000 internet police are thought to monitor the web for anything seen as undesirable content.

The new rules, which come into force on January 31, mark a fresh attempt by Beijing to curtail the internet habits of an increasingly web-savvy population that has become accustomed to decades of state intervention.

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