radio and TV hotlines (rexian) and call-in shows

radio and TV hotlines (rexian) and call-in shows
Radio and TV hotlines, which offer listeners and viewers the chance to debate ‘hot’ issues of the day, live and on air, began life in China in the 1980s. The phenomenon first began to appear on the business channels (jingji tai) of major broadcast stations, since these channels concentrated on business and economics rather than politics and current affairs and so enjoyed greater freedom from direct political control. The hotlines initially had two main functions: playing songs chosen by the audience, and helping listeners and viewers trace missing people. Gradually they developed, involving audiences more and more in live discussions of hot social issues ranging from marriage, relationships, children and parents, to drugs and anticorruption campaigns.
In China now almost all radio and broadcast stations, at national, provincial and local level, have radio hotlines.
In the main, the content of what is discussed on these hotlines is still controlled by the Chinese government. In line with other media, they promote the Chinese Communist Party line on social reform, and are used for airing approved social problems such as consumer protection, environmental protection and local government corruption. Discussion of issues considered harmful to the image of China, such as the unification of Taiwan or the spread of cults such as Falun gong, is forbidden.
The top national hotlines, however, such as Focus (Jiaodian fangtan) and Today’s Hotline run by the Guangdong People’s Broadcast Station, enjoy greater freedom. Today’s Hotline is particularly well known for its critical stance and is one of the most popular programmes in China.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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