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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China Announces Media Crackdown

Posted by Author on August 16, 2007

By KEITH BRADSHER, New York Times, August 15, 2007-

HONG KONG, Aug. 15 — China today disclosed a crackdown on “false news reports, unauthorized publications and bogus journalists,” two months before the opening of the politically sensitive Communist Party congress, which is held once every five years.

The crackdown, confirmed by the government’s official web site, comes after a television journalist was given a one-year prison sentence and a $130 fine on Sunday for allegedly fabricating a story about Beijing dumpling makers that were said to use cardboard as filler.

According to The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the State Press and Publication Administration together warned that, “Those who intentionally fabricated news that caused public anxiety and tarnished the nation’s image would be harshly dealt with or even prosecuted if they broke the law.”

“Their news organizations would also be penalized,” the newspaper added.

The government urged news outlets to set up hotlines so that the public could report false news accounts.

Beijing officials periodically try to discourage the country’s media from being too aggressive, but the timing of the latest initiative may be significant coming just ahead of the Communist Party congress.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement today denouncing the prison sentence issued on Sunday against the television journalist, and noting hints that the story about the dumpling makers may actually have been true, like an effort by police and propaganda officials to discourage further investigation of the original report.

But as media organizations in China compete vigorously for readers and viewers to gain prominence, real abuses have taken place.

Chinese journalists have reportedly demanded bribes from companies to refrain from reporting damaging news about them, and have sometimes invented stories. The new government effort today calls for an end to such activities, according to the government’s official web site and The People’s Daily newspaper.

The Chinese decision to increase scrutiny of the media coincides with a Congressional investigation in the United States into Yahoo. ( …… more details from New York Times’ report)

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