China bans celebrities from hosting television shows to prevent 'improper remarks'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's media regulator has banned celebrities such as actors and actresses from appearing as presenters on television shows to ensure no "improper remarks" are made while on air, state news agency Xinhua said on Monday.

The government frequently takes aim at what it considers base, vulgar or politically inappropriate entertainment.

In the latest move to tighten controls on the state-run media sector, television hosts must have proper vocational qualifications, which will be checked, Xinhua said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

"TV shows, including news, commentary and interview panels, should not recruit guests in the role of supporting host," Xinhua said, citing the circular. "TV hosts are responsible for the show; guiding the audience and controlling the pace of the live broadcast. Thus, it is unsuitable for guests to be hosts or presenters."

Hosts and guest must undergo "more training" before shows are recorded, the report said.

"TV stations often hire famous actors, actresses and celebrities as guest hosts, especially for popular reality shows, which might result in improper remarks or mistakes during live broadcasting."

In May, the watchdog said it would investigate an anti-Japan television serial that viewers have criticised as vulgar for a scene showing a woman making use of a grenade concealed in her crotch to kill Japanese soldiers.