Xinhua rejects US radio's charge
Claims by official US broadcaster Voice of America that new rules covering the way foreign media disseminate information on the mainland harm the foreign players' interests have been rejected by Xinhua.
A spokesman for Xinhua's Foreign Information Administration Centre said foreign news agencies authorised to release news on the mainland would be free of obstacles as long as they abided by the new measures, state media reported yesterday.
In theory, foreign news agencies are not allowed to provide news and information to the mainland media, which have by and large ignored the rule. However, the new measures introduced last September state that approval must be sought from Xinhua.
Last month, Xinhua said four overseas news agencies were allowed to release news and information on the mainland after they passed an annual assessment.
They are Reuters Asia, Jiji Press of Japan, ETNet of Hong Kong and a unit of Japan's iNews Net Asia, NNA China Ltd.
A report by VOA on May 1 said some foreign reporters were concerned that the new measures would restrict foreign media players' development on the mainland as authorities would only gave the green light to organisations that bowed before Beijing.
The VOA also quoted a Beijing-based reporter from Japan's NHK network as saying the new measures 'let fertile water flow into Xinhua' because foreign agencies had to pay for a permit from Xinhua's foreign information centre - a 'commercial institution' - in order to run their businesses.
However, the Xinhua spokesman was quoted as saying: 'The centre is not a commercial institution at all. It is a managerial department established by Xinhua with the authorisation of the State Council.
'In the course of providing services, this agent department [Xinhua] neither shares any profit nor seeks to promote its own interests.'
Under the 22 new measures, Xinhua is the only institution authorised to approve foreign organisations' release of news and information to mainland media.
The new measures state Xinhua has the sole right to select news and information released by foreign news agencies on the mainland and will delete any material that undermines the country's national unity, sovereignty or security.