Chapter 265: During the Live Broadcast!
At the venue.
At the hall on the first floor.
Wang Xiong, Zhang Ye, and company dodged the hounding reporters. After flashing their work passes to the SARFT staff, they were let inside. There were already a few television station staff members and hosts, who had their programs halted, in there. On the podium, Zhang Ye immediately noticed the pot bellied Li Tao and the few Shanghai SARFT officials who had shown up to pass down the directive at his company.
Li Tao was giving instructions.
“Check the microphone.”
“Chief Li, it’s fine.”
“The press conference will be half an hour long and will be fully broadcasted live on a provincial Shanghai station. This is the closure to us making an example out of them. It is extremely important and no mistakes will be allowed. Or else, even if we did well at the beginning, problems at the end would definitely not allow us to pass!”
“Don’t worry Chief Li.”
After finishing speaking, Li Tao saw Zhang Ye and company in the distance. He ignored them and found SARFT staff who was presiding over the press conference, “Little Zheng, when you are doing the moderating, when it’s Weiwo Video and Dongchu Video’s turn, you can allow the reporters to question them. As for the rest, there’s no need to after they do their reflections. It is also to save on time. We need to guarantee that it can be done in half an hour.”
The one called Little Zheng was stunned before saying, “Yes, Leader.”
Li Tao nodded and left satisfied.
Little Zheng did not ask any superfluous questions, because he knew deep down. Dongchu Video? This was a new WebTV company established just this year. Back then, it was said amongst the Administration that this company “did not play the game”, did not concern themselves with personal connections, nor did they send gifts to the SARFT, hence they were deliberately held in review for a few months by the Shanghai SARFT. Finally, the Dongchu company wrestled with them and passed the application material directly to headquarters before managing to pass the review. Little Zheng believed Chief Li was definitely trying to make it difficult for them. As for Weiwo Video? Little Zheng was not very sure of the situation, but he knew that they had definitely offended Chief Li Tao, or it was due to interests. It could be anything else too, but it was not something a person of his level could understand. He just needed to execute the Leader’s orders.
Zhang Ye did not hear their conversation. He and a few hosts met each other and got to know one another. Maybe they had seen each other’s programs, but did not know each other, nor had they ever met face to face. Now, with them in the same boat, their relationship naturally grew closer.
“Teacher Zhang Ye?”
“Teacher Zhou Hao.”
“Teacher Chen, you came too?”
A few of them stood together to talk, but their tones were full of sighs.
Host Zhou Hao whispered, “What do you make of it? We were doing our programs prim and proper and in accordance with the regulations, yet we were stopping just because they say so.”
Teacher Chen looked at him, “You must have offended someone, right?”
Zhou Hao turned silent, “Hai, don’t mention it.”
Teacher Chen said agitatedly, “I’m the most wronged. My program is a f**king children’s online program, yet it got axed by them. Aren’t they forcing me to the gallows?”
Another host said, “Wasn’t there some friction with the Shanghai SARFT back when your Dongchu Video submitted the WebTV application? They are probably using this opportunity to settle scores.”
None of them would dare say these words to others, but they were now compatriots in the same war trench, so there was nothing to hide. Furthermore, even if they didn’t say it out aloud, everyone knew it in their hearts.
Zhou Hao said angrily, “The programs that should be halted aren’t, but a large number of those that shouldn’t are halted. Teacher Zhang Ye, you must be feeling aggrieved too, right? I’ve seen your program before. It’s really good. However, there are a large number of programs plagiarizing you, yet what was the result? Those programs are all fine and dandy, but only yours has been taken off the air!”
Zhang Ye asked, “Why aren’t the other Talk Shows taken off air?”
Teacher Chen sighed, “I’ve only heard rumors, so it might not be the truth. Apparently, the two online television stations that plagiarized your program have very good relationships with the SARFT official, Li Tao, who is in charge of this crackdown. It seems they paved their connections well when they first applied to be online television stations. Also, recently, there is to be some adjustments to the Shanghai SARFT chiefs, and I heard that Li Tao is definitely going to be promoted. Hence, his power in Shanghai is growing. Whatever he says is the law. Our company had previously worked with a few other Shanghai SARFT Leaders, but it ended up useless. Well, these words should not be said to outsiders. Just us knowing is fine. Hai, anyway, it’s such a world!”
There was another female host who said, “Have you all prepared the reflection piece?”
“What’s there to prepare?” Teacher Chen said, “Just say a few lines would do. We are all in broadcasting, don’t we have that tiny bit of skill?”
Zhou Hao said furiously, “I really don’t f**king wish to go up there!”
“What can we do other than going up?” Teacher Chen said, “We have already spoken to Li Tao, so if you resist him, are you planning to carry on working in Shanghai in the future? As long as we are in this industry, we are under their control.”
Zhou Hao said, “But my program has no problems at all! It has been aired for half a year! Why didn’t they say it was inappropriate during the review? Why didn’t they tell us to change?”
Teacher Chen looked at him, “Even a children’s program like mine was banned. The reason was spreading negative influences to youth. So go have fun at it.”
Through everyone’s exchange, Zhang Ye got a clearer picture of the situation. This crackdown was said to be making an example out of people, but it was actually Li Tao removing people he disfavored or those who did not benefit him! Whether their programs abided to the regulations or not was not Li Tao’s concern. He only focused on the benefit that was brought to him. Clearly, Zhang Ye and the hosts present were abandoned or used as pawns in Li Tao interests’ chessboard!
Suddenly, the reporters surged in. They were allowed in!
The SARFT had arranged everyone’s seats. Zhang Ye and company sat in their respective seats.
Five minutes later.
Little Zheng from SARFT sat at the podium and announced, “Next, the press conference will officially commence. Let us invite Chief Li Tao to announce the outcome of the recent investigations on programs that violated regulations.”
Li Tao strode up the stage high-spiritedly, “Hello dear reporters and friends.”
Then, he announced each program that had been halted. “Web Bikini Show”, “Zhang Ye’s Talk Show”…
The cameras were already rolling and the live broadcast had already begun. Many of the audience, who were paying attention to this massive crackdown on TV programs, were waiting in front of their TV sets. Those who could not receive the signal of the Shanghai’s small provincial station watched it online. The broadcast online was synchronized and at most had about 10 seconds of delay.
Under the stage.
Wang Xiong leaned his head, “Have you decided on what to say?”
“Yes, I’ve already thought of it.” Zhang Ye nodded while replying.
Wang Xiong patted him, “It has been hard on you, but…there’s no other way.”
SARFT—In their eyes was a machete hanging above all their heads. With the directive coming to slash down on them, they did not dare disobey it.
The announcement finished.
Li Tao did not carry on staying on stage as he stepped off stage and sat in the first row, while hugging his shoulders to spectate.
Little Zheng took over the microphone and began the next item on the itinerary, which was to let reporters question as well as the reflections of the relevant staff that had failed to meet regulations.
The first person up was Teacher Zhou Hao and a middle-aged man. The person who spoke was the middle-aged man. He was the Executive Producer of the program that was halted, “As a public television media, we have the obligation to….” After saying a long piece, he finally ended, “Here, I want to represent my program team and my online television station to apologize to the public.”
Li Tao smiled and gave a satisfied nod of approval.
The second person up was Teacher Chen and a few people from his program team.
However, just as Teacher Chen was about to speak, Little Zheng, who was in charge of moderation, said to the reporters, “Everyone can feel free to ask questions.”
The reporters’ mouths were all rabid. The moment they heard this, they began bombarding!
“Teacher Chen, why did you do such a children’s program that violates regulations!”
“Children’s programs are extremely important in a child’s education. Spreading unhealthy information can cause great psychological impact to children, and might even cause mental scars to them. What do you have to say?”
More than ten questions came!
Teacher Chen’s face turned increasingly ugly and was nearly going mad from the questions. However, with his program colleagues reminding him, he still endured it, “I want to express my sincerest apologies. Sorry.” Saying that, he gave a slight bow, but his eyes were filled with humiliation and anger! He only had a normal children’s program. Just because Little Rabbit’s elder sister had been eaten by a bear, they were labeled to be spreading unhealthy information? Teacher Chen had worked for decades and had never been so wronged before. Furthermore, he had to bow to everyone to admit his mistakes! He had to admit to mistakes that weren’t mistakes!
Just because he was up against the SARFT!
Teacher Chen and the other broadcasting hosts did not dare to say or word, nor was it their place to say anything. All they could do was follow what Li Tao had for them. There was no room for discussion. If they blurted something out, it might not be their program getting banned, but being banned in the entire Shanghai entertainment industry from then on. Even if you left Shanghai to work elsewhere to dodge Shanghai’s SARFT, as long as Li Tao sat on the seat of power, you would not have a pleasant life. The SARFT from other regions were in cahoots with each other. Did Li Tao lack this bit of connections?
Next was the female host going up on stage. She did not look that much older than Zhang Ye. She was probably a recently graduated college graduate. After she apologized, aggrieved tears began falling when she saw the reporters taking her pictures and Li Tao’s smirk on the corners of his mouth!
She could not handle it!
Wang Xiong turned his head to avoid the scene. His fists were clenched. The other hosts who shared the same enemy gritted their teeth. This bunch of people from the SARFT were too much a bully!
When the reporters saw the female host crying, they looked at each other momentarily. They wiped all sorts of expressions from their faces and sighed in their hearts. To speak the truth, all of them knew that that many of the programs these hosts did had no major problems. There were many other programs that had bigger problems in the Shanghai region, but they were fine, while these bunch of hosts were used to set an example!
Was there any other way?
This was the entertainment industry!