Huang Can will remain editor-in-chief of the outspoken Southern Weekly despite being sidelined for weeks following a censorship row between the newspaper's editorial staff and propaganda officials over interference in editorial operations, sources say.
The announcement was made by Wang Genghui, a deputy editor-in-chief of the Nanfang Media Group, which owns the newspaper, at an internal meeting on Thursday, a journalist said.
Huang could not be reached for comment on Friday but another two staff members at the newspaper confirmed the announcement.
The journalist said Wang had been in charge of approving news reports and signing off pages since the week-long confrontation in January, when the paper's New Year editorial calling for constitutional rights was altered to praise the Communist Party at the request of provincial propaganda officials, without consulting editors.
Huang reportedly put pressure on a staff member who ran the newspaper's official Sina Weibo microblog account to hand over its password, and ordered the posting of a statement claiming the New Year editorial had been written with the consent of editors, which exacerbated the row.
The blatant censorship prompted some editorial staff to strike and later led to a three-day public protest outside the media group's headquarter in Guangzhou calling for press freedom.
"Some hoped Wang could stay … nobody knows whether similar incidents will happen again after Huang resumes his grip," the journalist said.