05 July 2016
Authorities in China have clamped down on journalists’ use of what has become one of their biggest sources of news: the country’s popular social media websites. Under new rules, journalists must verify reports in social media before publishing them.
The Cyber Administration of China has punished some major news websites this year, including Sina, ifeng and 163.com, because they “fabricated stories,” the official Xinhua news agency said.
Cyber authorities had already pledged to “vigorously purify” disturbing comments made over social media, and make efforts to “cultivate a healthy and active, progressive internet culture for good, so rational threads [and] goodwill replies [become] common practice on the internet.” Outside observers say such descriptions are euphemisms for censoring content the government finds objectionable.
The Chinese media have been routinely quoting postings on Sina Weibo, the Twitter-like microblogging platform with more than 200 million users, to report events or details of incidents that are not always confirmed by official sources. A search on the Xinhua website Tuesday revealed hundreds of references to Weibo. The official People’s Daily Online even publishes photographs posted by people on Weibo. That could drastically change under the new regulations.
… “There is an attempt to revamp the role of the media and the cultural industry as a whole. This is an attempt to further legitimize the role of the Communist Party in the changing times,” Fengshi Wu, associate professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told VOA.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 07/07/2016