June 22, 2017 / 2:33 PM / 2 months ago

REFILE-China's authorities tighten noose around online video, audio content

(Corrects Reuters instrument code for Weibo in para 7)

SINGAPORE, June 22 (Reuters) - China has told three major web portals to shut down their video and audio streaming services, saying they carry politically-related material that breaks state rules and social commentary which incites negative opinions.

China keeps a close watch over the internet, deleting comments on social media it deems harmful and blocking popular foreign websites including Google and Facebook.

It has defended tight controls as necessary to ensure national security and social stability.

China's Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, popular online video site ACFUN and news portal Ifeng.com will have to stop video streaming services that violate the country's regulations, the TV and film watchdog said on Thursday.

It did not give any specific timeframe for when these programmes should be taken down and whether the move was permanent.

"This will provide a clean and clear Internet space for the wide number of online users," the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a brief statement on its website.

Weibo Corp said it was communicating with relevant government authorities to understand the scope of the notice and will also evaluate the impact of the government's move on its operations and its administrative options.

ACFUN and Ifeng.com were not immediately available for comment.

China's Internet shares tumbled after news of the clampdown with Weibo Corp's down 9 percent, while SINA Corp, which has a stake in Weibo, fell 6 percent. (Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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