• Tue
  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 7:47pm
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 5:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

New regulations in China ban journalists from quoting foreign media

BIO

Patrick Boehler has written for Foreign Policy, Time, Bloomberg, Le Monde Diplomatique and the Chinese weekly Shidai Zhoubao. He has covered Southeast Asia for the Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung and China's relations with Myanmar for the Myanmese magazine The Irrawaddy, reporting from the trenches of the Kachin civil war and Yangon's tea houses. He began his reporting career in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini. Before moving to Hong Kong, he worked for Austria's ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Beijing. He studied in Milan, Vienna, Beijing and Hong Kong.
 

On the day Chinese journalists woke up to news that the New York Times won a Pulitzer for its report on former Premier Wen Jiabao's family fortune, China's media regulator issued new regulations banning reports on foreign media coverage.

"All kinds of media work units may not use any unauthorised news products provided by foreign media or foreign websites," according to a notice issued by the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

The notice also does not allow any reporting from reporting any information from "informers, freelancers, NGOs, commercial organisations" without "prior verification."

A report on the notice was published on Tuesday on the front page of the China Press and Publishing Journal, a subsidiary of the regulator.

The notice calls on media organisations to "strengthen the management" of their websites, blogs and micro-blogs, including private micro-blog accounts.

"Strengthened management" is understood to be party-speak for allowing less leeway in sharing information online that couldn't have appeared in newspapers in the first place.

Media organisations were once again told not to cite or report on information from the internet, or to report "gossip, rumour and speculation".

They should "intuitively suppress the infiltration and spread of harmful information."

The statement comes on the day millions of people discussed the Boston Marathon bomb blasts on Sina Weibo. Photos and video shared by eyewitnesses provided more information than state media, which eventually resorted to these accounts in their coverage of the tragedy. 

The gag order is reminiscent of a statement by the regulator's predecessor, the General Administration of Press and Publication, in 2011 barring the inclusion of information gathered online or via text messages in news stories.

This is the second time the new regulator has been in the news recently after censoring the US film Django Unchained before it could be shown in Chinese cinemas last week.

The General Administration was created when the regulator for radio, film and television was merged with the regulator for the press and publications last month.

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