Chinese censors block use of information from internet in news media
Posted by Author on November 12, 2011
BEIJING: Chinese censors have struck again to check the rising trend in the news media to source what is seen as ‘negative news’ from the internet. A new government order has banned the use of unverified information from Internet sites and blogs in news pages and in the electronic media.
The Chinese media has of late been citing Twitter-like microblogs and internet sites as the source of information. This is how the State-controlled media has been able to expose a range of misdeeds and government negligence including a case of child labor being used in mines. They can no more do so.
The General Administration of Press and Publications has required reporters to produce at least two sources for any “critical” news reports and to personally conduct interviews when gathering information.
The GAPP said newspapers must publish corrections and apologies for circulating false reports as and when they do so. Serious violations could lead to the suspension or even revocation of a news outlet’s government-issued license, it said in a statement on Thursday.
“False reports not only seriously hurt the interests of the parties involved, but also seriously undermine the credibility of the news media, or even seriously affect the social and economic order,” GAPP said in a question-and-answer article released by the state news agency Xinhua.
It has also barred reporters from directly including unverified information from the mobile telephone messages in news articles. The authorities said one in five of its investigations of “illegal news publishing” involved false reports since 2010.
The move comes after last month’s annual meeting of the Communist Party’s leadership, which focused on increasing China’s cultural reach, produced new calls for increased supervision of journalism and the Internet.
The issue has been raised on several occasions by senior Communist Party leaders, led by the Politburo member and propaganda chief Li Changchun. The party is facing a serious challenge in terms of controlling what it regards as false rumors and incendiary statements in the country’s microblogs reaching hundreds of millions of Internet users.
Reports on government corruption and abuse of authority have filled thousands of microblog postings causing serious embarrassment to the rulers. The government has forced some of the microblogs to hire teams of employees to hunt down and fact-check rumors.
The new rules will affect regional newspapers, who do not have the financial capability to hire reporters across the country and were increasingly using the internet as their source of news.
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