SAPPRFT Enforces TV Presenter Rules: No More “Guest Hosts”

The Chinese State (National) Administration of Press, Publishing, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has recently issued a new circular, whereby it reinforced the rules that “official” TV presenters must be licensed, and in effect eliminated the “guest hosts” or “guest presenters”.

In the circular, it gave responsibility to both hosts and guests appearing on TV shows to “hold firm to correct values, disseminate advanced culture, and guide civilised attitudes”. SAPPRFT also stated that it has, over the years, issued numerous circulars in this regard, but that there were still unlicensed TV presenters going on the air or not being registered. It further expressed criticism at “isolated cases” where presenters and guests used inappropriate language.

These new rules have appeared in the wake of a number of pop divas “acting as” presenters on popular TV shows. The central authorities are obviously displeased at this “identity mix”, and have therefore mandated stricter enforcement of policy regarding presenters.

The new, reinforced rules mandate the following:

  • All presenters must hold licences.
  • No unregistered presenters are permitted.
  • Those without the license may assist the main, licensed presenter (and must sign a contract); but this is it not permitted in news, news commentary, or interview programmes.
  • There must be a clear difference in what hosts and guests do. In particular, guests may not do what a presenter would usually do.
  • Guest presenters are not permitted.
  • For all commissioned shows, the registered, licensed status of presenters must be checked first; the same inspections are also mandated for guests.
  • No presenter or guest which has a poor social image may be permitted on shows.
  • More training is required for presenters: Marxism-oriented journalism training courses are mandated, and presenters are to be “closer to the people”.
  • Training is also required for guests making regular appearances.
  • All industry groups must also be responsible for more training to leave a better impression for the media world.

The new rules take effect as of 01 July 2015. This circular seems to have been circulated with a delay, as it was dated 03 June 2015, and was printed a day later, but only reached the Weibo accounts of a number of media organisations in the past few days.

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