Regulator backs reports on Da Vinci furniture
Two investigative reports shown on China Central Television about the alleged low quality of furniture retailer Da Vinci's products were 'basically factual', the central government said, though the reporter on the stories was not a licensed journalist.
The findings were posted by the General Administration of Press and Publication - one of several media regulators - on its website on Friday after Da Vinci complained that CCTV's coverage was biased.
In July 2011, CCTV ran two programmes hosted by Li Wenxue alleging that luxury furniture supplier Da Vinci was selling products on the mainland that it claimed were imported but were, in fact, made in Dongguan, Guangdong province.
Last month, Caixin Century magazine reported Da Vinci as saying that the CCTV programmes were biased, and that after their broadcast, the company had been approached by a public relations company to transfer one million yuan (HK$1.23 million) into a Hong Kong bank account.
The company said that the bribe had been demanded by an alleged CCTV reporter to 'settle' the bad publicity.
The administration found there was evidence that some Da Vinci products had defects; that others were made in China and not imported as the company claimed; and that some materials used in one furniture line were not rare Italian woods, as it claimed, but polyester.
The regulator said the reporter, Li, had not requested or received a bribe. The one million yuan that Da Vinci claimed to have transferred to the Hong Kong bank account was later returned.
This matter 'had nothing to do with Li', GAPP said.
However, it admitted that the CCTV reports failed to check the identity of the interviewees, and their conclusions were 'not sound enough'.
GAPP's findings stated that Li, the host and reporter on the two programmes, had not been employed by CCTV as a reporter and was not authorised to work independently on news stories.
It also said that after the broadcasts, Li met Da Vinci executives 'many times in private', but did not say what the meetings concerned.
Regarding Li's behaviour, GAPP asked 'relevant departments' - an implicit reference to CCTV - to follow the government's reporting rules.
The number of furniture megastores Da Vinci operates in the region, including six on the mainland