China blacks out Bugs Bunny, other foreign cartoons
Wed, Feb 20, 2008

BEIJING - CHINESE children will be seeing less of Scooby Doo, the Flintstones and Bugs Bunny with authorities set to extend a ban on foreign cartoons on prime time television, state press reported on Wednesday.

From May 1, no foreign-made cartoons will be allowed to be broadcast during the prime after-school viewing period from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

The move extends a ban, introduced in September last year, which currently lasts until 8:00pm.

The cartoon black-out is an effort to protect the local cartoon industry, the administration said.

The ban will 'enhance the (the administration's) management over cartoon programmes and will create a favourable environment for the domestic cartoon industry,' it said in a statement, according to Xinhua.

Cartoons co-produced by domestic and foreign producers will have to get official approval to be shown in the so-called 'golden hours' slot, the report added.

China made more than 101,900 minutes of animation last year, a 23 per cent jump over 2006, as it tried to stave off competition from foreign producers, in particular Japanese cartoon makers, according to the report.

Foreign televisions shows often have a hard time breaking into China, which has a potentially massive audience of 1.3 billion people.

Despite embracing foreign economic models, the nation's communist rulers remain wary of international spiritual pollution and consequently the state-controlled television stations generally do not pick up Western shows.

Last year, the government banned reality television shows from prime time, and called for broadcasters to only screen 'ethically inspiring TV series.' -- AFP

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