Culture bans need prudence

Updated: 2015-08-13 07:43

(China Daily)

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The Ministry of Culture recently published a blacklist of online music and urged various websites to remove 120 songs, some by popular singers, from their platforms.

The move is based on a ministry regulation that came into effect in 2011 requiring online portals not to promote obscenity, gambling, violence and crimes.

The move represents progress, given that it is based on an established regulation and that there are issues with the songs on the blacklist, some of which contain explicit lyrics.

A stricter regulation covering online songs is necessary to protect youths from pornographic content. However, such a regulation needs to be drawn up in a prudent manner, so that it does not give the impression that there is no tolerance toward cultural diversity.

In this sense, the regulation should be based on standardized and specific rules that are already a social consensus.

It is common for countries to have restrictions on cultural products involving obscenity and violence, for example rating systems for films. So the latest move by the authorities should not provoke controversy if persuasive criteria are used for the banning of specific content that includes pornography or violence.

But considering the huge differences that exist in the types and degrees of the offensive material in the 120 songs, the blanket ban imposed on them has given the public the impression that the ban is based on a decision that is more random than targeted.

It is a bottom line of society that any dissemination of cultural products via public media platforms should be free from pornography and violence. However, any move to regulate cultural products should be made in a prudent manner.

The above is an article published on the Beijing News website on Wednesday.