China has banned a planned groundbreaking TV talk show which had promised to deal frankly with sexual issues, state media said on Tuesday.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued a notice on Monday banning the late-night talk show program entitled The Mask which was produced by the Beijing Shixi Media company and was to be broadcast in 50 cities from Jan. 1, Xinhua news agency said.
"Following investigation, Beijing's Shixi Media has not obtained the Television Broadcast Program Production and Operation License and has no right to produce and operate television programs," Xinhua quoted the notice as saying.
The program was billed as China's first late-night talk show on sex.
The half-hour show, which aimed to be educational, was to consist of a discussion with a masked guest of a problem in his or her sex life which would then be analysed by an expert.
Analysis of erotic film scenes would also be presented.
The company has been trying to sell the program to several TV stations, prompting the administration "urgently" to issue the notice ordering rejection of the show.
The administration, in its notice, also told TV stations across the country to "strengthen management" of talk shows, especially those with sexual content, and to "firmly reject" programs that "guide people in the wrong direction and create a bad influence on society," according to Xinhua.
The ban indicates China's media censors are still uncomfortable with the subject of sex despite dramatic changes in Chinese people's views about sex-ual matters, including increasing promiscuity and teenage sex.