China's government has told local TV stations not to use video from foreign sources to produce news bulletins. New rules ban the use of footage acquired from foreign satellite TV and other channels that are not state-run. Stations have been told they should only use news reports provided by the state-run China Central Television and China Radio International.
Following the reports of crackdowns on the media in Iran and Belarus, comes the news that the Chinese government has banned local broadcasters from using foreign sources. The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has reportedly called on the media to show greater "political and propaganda discipline".
Reporters Without Borders have called on members of the World Trade Organization to oppose the media restrictions just adopted in China. President Hu Jintao is visiting the US later this month and the group hopes that President George Bush will raise the issue with his counterpart.
"This reinforcement of protectionism by China is clearly aimed at increasing control of media content and is a new violation of press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.
After Google's submission to the Chinese authorities, this news appears to be another step back in China's international relations. The government in China knows that the internet and the media represent the biggest threat to their power and are doing everything they can to prevent a free-flow of information. Informed citizens are the biggest danger to an autocratic government and the officials in charge of China will fight any knowledge that seeps through with all the propaganda they have at their disposal.