News / Asia

China Bans Unauthorized Critical Journalism

FILE - Plainclothes officer, right, prevents photographer from taking a photo of a Chinese police officer questioning two journalists, Beijing.
FILE - Plainclothes officer, right, prevents photographer from taking a photo of a Chinese police officer questioning two journalists, Beijing.
Reporters in China are forbidden from publishing critical reports without the approval of their employer, one of China's top media regulators said on Wednesday.

The rule comes as the government intensifies a crackdown on freedom of expression, both online and in traditional media.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television published the rule in a circular announcing a crackdown on false news and journalists who take bribes or extort money from their sources.

News agencies must crackdown on corruption and journalists who break the law must be handed over to judicial authorities, the regulator said. Journalists who violate the rules will be stripped of their license to report.

Journalists are also forbidden from setting up their own websites, video sites or writing internal reports with critical content, it added. The regulator did not specify what constituted critical content or what particular subjects journalists cannot criticize.

The rules also forbid journalists from conducting interviews or writing reports outside their assigned fields of coverage.

News agencies must regularly solicit opinions from "the masses," as well as propaganda authorities and other media regulators, including itself, it said.

The notice listed several scandals in which Chinese newspaper reporters had reportedly accepted bribes for positive coverage, or forced people to pay them off to avoid a critical story, saying these incidents made the regulation necessary.

Media that violated the rules could be stripped of their licenses, it added.

China adopted tough measures to crack down on online rumors last year, but critics say the campaign is simply a means to target criticism of the ruling Communist Party that has chilled political discourse.

China's news media is heavily censored and media organizations need to obtain licenses from the government before publishing.

State media has been the key vehicle for party propaganda, but reforms over the past decade have allowed greater commercialization and some increase in editorial independence.

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Comment Sorting
by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 18, 2014 1:32 PM
different cultures have different value systems. america considers the freedom of speech is a basic human right, fine keeps it in your country ok? other cultures have their right to choose different value system. in china, we educate ppl to watch their language before speaking. Think twice and again before speak a word! security of our nation is more important than individuals right to speak. rumors can severely endanger our harmony society, thus must be controlled!
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 19, 2014 11:17 AM
@shinato, you are so ridiculous, I just explained why china controls speeches, and the important for all ppl to understand each others. and I dont have to stay in china to preach chinese culture, do I?canada is a multicultural nation, I enjoy my rights of preaching chinese culture here!
@keith, west always bashes china which is worse than rumors! and China is still a developing country, China IS NOT strong yet and far from secure thanks to the hostility from america and japan! yes, we are scared of rumors, very scared! we dont want to be like Ukraine or Egypt or Iraq, manipulated by west and fell into chaos! we chinese want a strong and prosperous china, which is our dream! we are scared that the west would destroy our dream! we have to protect ourselves! the west controls the world propaganda machine, there is nothing china can do about it so far. so the only thing we can do is to control our own propaganda machine!
In Response

by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
June 18, 2014 6:10 PM
Why are you in Canada? You had better generate such an opinion from mainland China. Come back early there to enjoy your beloved different political system and culture.
In Response

by: keith from: chicago
June 18, 2014 5:44 PM

"rumors" are not what foreign journalists in china are being prevented from reporting. They are being prevented from reporting facts about leaders, about violations by the government on preventing chinese citizens to exercise their lawful rights under chinese law to protest, about facts of international events that provide relevant information to readers that Xinhua and other state-controlled media omit or otherwise fail to report.
if a country is strong and secure, it need not fear false rumors; it needs to fear a people long suppressed and controlled who learns all the facts.

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