China says will ban "vulgar" reality TV shows

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's media regulator will ban "vulgar and damaging" reality television shows and will order them to promote decent Chinese values rather simply aiming for cheap entertainment, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.

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, reality television shows must be a force for transmitting "positive energy" and have a "positive educational purpose", Xinhua said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

"At present, most of the reality television shows are correctly oriented, have healthy content and are acclaimed by society," Xinhua said, citing an unnamed spokesman for the regulator.

But some shows do not reach these high standards, it said. "High quality reality television shows will get great support. Those which lack values or meaning will be given more controls, and those which are vulgar and harmful will be investigated, dealt with or rectified until they are banned."

It did not give details, but reality shows which have earned the ire of Chinese censors in the past have included singing shows seen as whipping up viewers' emotions and dating shows which feature too many luxury products.

Last month, the media regulator banned celebrities such as actors and actresses from appearing as presenters on television shows to ensure no "improper remarks" are made while on air.

Despite the restrictions, Chinese people can easily access more racy entertainment from Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States or other countries via the Internet.