China: Apple reportedly removes two podcast apps from Chinese app store following censorship demands

Author: Guardian (UK), Published on: 14 June 2020

“Apple removes two podcast apps from China store after censorship demands”, 12 June 2020

Apple has removed two podcast apps from its Chinese app store, following government pressure to censor content.

Pocket Casts and Castro were both pulled from distribution in China after the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) demanded that the apps stop allowing content that breached the country’s restrictive speech laws.

“We believe podcasting is and should remain an open medium, free of government censorship,” Pocket Casts said. “As such we won’t be censoring podcast content at their request.

“We understand this means that it’s unlikely that our iOS app will be available in China, but feel it’s a necessary step to take for any company that values the open distribution model that makes podcasting special.” Pocket Casts said it was contacted by the CAC through Apple “around two days before the app was removed from the store”.

Castro Podcasts said it was not given a specific reason for its removal, but that it thought it may have been to do with the promotion of Hong Kong’s protests in its “discover” section…

Apple’s own podcasting app remains available in China, but with strict limitations: searches are filtered, and the ability to browse by category is disabled.

GreatFire, an organisation that campaigns against Chinese web censorship, called the removal “a worrying trend”…

Apple has drawn repeated criticism for its closeness to Chinese authorities, which critics argue goes beyond legal necessity…

Apple has been contacted for comment.

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Related companies: Apple