A high-profile Chinese media executive is under investigation over alleged violations of Communist Party discipline – a euphemism for corruption, according to a party graft watchdog. The discipline inspection commission of the party’s Beijing branch announced on Monday that Dai Zigeng, 56, the former publisher of The Beijing News , was being investigated for alleged “serious violations of discipline and law”. Dai is the general manager and deputy secretary of the party committee of Beijing Cultural Investment and Development Group, a state-owned investment and management services company. He helped found The Beijing News , one of China’s most popular news outlets, in 2003, becoming the party official serving as the news outlet’s publisher. The newspaper was a joint venture between state-run Guangming Daily and Southern Media Group, the Guangdong-based owner of the once-liberal Southern Weekly , also known as the Southern Weekend . Blackmail probe into cadre at Communist Party-linked website Dai worked at Guangming Daily before starting The Beijing News . He was a key figure in the development of the Beijing daily into a publication known for investigative reporting and commentary, according to industry analysts. Zhan Jiang, a retired professor of journalism and communications at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said Dai was well respected in the industry and The Beijing News was unique for the breadth of its support. “It gained recognition from three groups: officials, including high-ranking officials, intellectuals and the business community,” Zhan said. “Its reporting and commentary are solid so it gained the favour of the upper echelons, something that is really hard in a media-concentrated place like Beijing.” Beijing-based media critic Yan Lieshan, agreed, saying: “ The Beijing News is professional and well respected, and it’s almost second to none in Beijing.” In 2015, Shen Hao, a former top executive of 21st Century Media Group, also affiliated with Southern Media Group, was sentenced to four years in prison for extortion. Shen admitted the charges in a televised confession, but his supporters say the company was singled out for its liberal reporting.