Monitoring journalist wrote in his July 29th article after watching the live-broadcast topical debate program aired by a TV channel in Jinan, Shandong province on July 26 that Chinese media become braver to challenge oversights about political broadcasts and want more government transparency under President Xi's anti-graft campaign.
The live program is similar to the UK's Question Time, the report said.
Similar programs have been aired before in Wuhan and Nanning, but the live topical debate show sponsored by Jinan TV is the largest-scale and is well-received across the nation.
The report said, in the first live show with an environmental theme, Shandong’s environment officials showed embarrassment and unease.
Jinan citizens have been dissatisfied with the local environmental protection department for its failure to tackle the pollution issue.
Officials inquired in the program included the director of Jinan Environmental Protection Bureau and the heads of the city’s Development and Reform Commission, Urban and Rural Construction Committee, Public Infrastructure Bureau, and Urban Management Bureau.
Staffs from the above departments were also present. They have to stand up to answer questions related to their duties if necessary.
It has a live audience and people could also ring in to ask questions. The heads of the departments had to face real tough issues.
Pollution is an important issue for Jinan residents and it is also an important national issue for China.
China Youth Daily said on July 28th that China had finally come to an "era of live television politics". Shanghai Morning Post said live broadcasts had a sense of presence and impact.
Although live topical debate shows are becoming increasingly popular, they are still in their infancy.
The report quotes Chinese officials as saying that similar programmes are at least "awakening" local officials’ sense of responsibility, and they need to give more transparency to the public during President Xi’s anti-graft campaign.