Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming sites to remove four US TV shows, including The Big Bang Theory, in a move that suggests censorship is being tightened in this relatively free-wheeling sector.
The other shows banned from streaming web-sites include political and legal drama The Good Wife, crime drama NCIS and legal drama The Practice. Links to the shows on sites including Youku.com and Sohu.com were displaying the message “This video can’t be viewed due to policy reasons”.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) didn’t explain why the four shows had come under scrutiny, but recently announced on its web-site that online companies should allow government censors to vet content before streaming.
The video streaming industry has so far been able to show a much wider range of content than China’s state-owned broadcasters and cinemas. US TV shows with potentially controversial subjects and storylines, such as The Walking Dead and House Of Cards, have been streamed freely and built up large audiences.