China’s internet regulator tightens restrictions on live-stream programming

China’s most powerful internet regulator says people live-streaming news content must obtain a licence, further strengthening controls over the thriving online broadcasting sector.

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued regulations on Friday stipulating that people hosting live-stream news platforms plus organisations managing the broadcasts have to get official permission to operate.

Hosts live-streaming talent shows will also need a licence, according to the regulations.

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A statement from the administration quoted an unnamed official as saying that more than 300 organisations were in the business of live-streaming, mostly reporting on news and entertainment.

Some “tried to catch eyeballs with vulgar content and some engaged in news broadcasting without approval”, the official said.

“The regulations are to strengthen online streaming management and promote the healthy and orderly development of the sector,” the statement added.

Hosts of live-streams will have to register details of their identity cards or business licence.

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The regulations were issued only months after China’s press and entertainment watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television also ordered live-streaming platforms

platforms to apply for a “ network broadcasting licence” to operate.

The cyberspace administration is more powerful than the radio and TV watchdog and its directives carry more weight.

Live-streaming is extremely popular on the Chinese mainland, with content running the gamut from sporting events to eccentric personalities hosting their own shows.