China's broadcasting watchdog on Tuesday urged radio and television stations to reject "vulgar" programs in favor of "healthy" productions.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) called on radio, film and television administrative departments and broadcasting organizations to maintain the "prestige" of radio and TV stations.
It warned broadcasters against seeking ratings by catering to "the low-grade interests of a minority" by relying on vulgar programs.
Those stations that failed to monitor the quality of programs would face severe penalties, said the administration.
However, officials with SARFT on Tuesday refused to give a definition of "vulgar programs".
At a conference in November last year, SARFT deputy director Zhang Haitao defined "vulgar programs" as those with contents depicting violence, pornography, crime and horror.
The SARFT said healthy programs should be excellent in both "ideological content" and artistic quality.
The SARFT has previously imposed restrictions on TV programs, including a ban on foreign cartoons during prime time from last September, and a crackdown on "vulgar reality shows" earlier this year.
Last week, it issued a list of rules on the talent show "Happy Boys Voice", a Chinese version of American Idol.
The administration required the program to include only "healthy and ethically inspiring" songs and try to avoid "gossip" about the contestants and scenes of fans screaming and wailing.
The administration has sent inspectors to Shanghai Municipality and Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Hunan and Guangdong provinces to supervise the work of local radio and TV stations.