China Regulator Shuffles Leave Doubts

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Hong Kong -- Chinese authorities green-lighted changes at
the country's media regulators, but those changes are not likely to put an end to
internal squabbling.

Reports from China's state-run media in Beijing
suggested that the country's highest government authority, the State Council, has
approved plans to revamp the ministry that is charged with framing broadcasting policy.
And the importance of the broadcasting regulatory role among bureaucrats has led to
speculation that turf wars are likely to continue.

The State Council ruled that the Ministry of Information
and Industry is in charge of the overall planning and administration of the national
TV-broadcasting network, including the country's more than 1,500 cable TV systems.

MII officials will also ensure that technical standards are
maintained and coordinate the allocation of China's share of internationally agreed
orbital slots for satellites.

The MII infrastructure was created earlier this year by
Premier Zhu Rongji from parts of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television (MRFTV).

If the State Council's wishes are carried out in full,
the remainder of the former MRFTV will be in charge of the day-to-day implementation and
enforcement of MII policy.

However, infighting among bureaucrats that are reluctant to
lose any influence make the MII's exact role and powers unclear for many inside and
outside of China.

A Hong Kong-based satellite-TV programmer with
responsibility for China commented that despite the de facto division of responsibility,
there is still uncertainty if the arrangement will last.

He said there was widespread speculation that the three
ministries that were in charge of broadcasting prior to the reshuffle earlier this year
would be combined into one single entity within two years. "There is still
uncertainty about which body is responsible for what, because no one wants to give up
their power," the programmer added.

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