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China denies trying to ban unapproved critical media coverage

China denies trying to ban unapproved critical media coverage

9:08am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is not trying to ban reporters from publishing critical reports without prior approval, an official told state media on Thursday, insisting an order had been misinterpreted and its real goal was to stop journalists abusing their jobs.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued rules on Wednesday saying reporters could only publish critical stories if their employer had signed off on it, sparking accusations of censorship.

The rules come as the government intensifies a crackdown on freedom of expression, both online and in traditional media.

But Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the administration, told the official Xinhua news agency that the government was dedicated to protecting reporters’ rights.

“Some people misinterpreted our instruction as not allowing press criticism in general, but in fact, we have resolutely protected reporters’ lawful professional rights and positively support media supervision via public opinion,” Jiang said.

The order that reporters get their employers’ approval to conduct critical reporting is “in line with regular regulations and addresses the problem journalists abusing their positions for blackmail”, Jiang added.

The rules are part of a national campaign against crooked and fake reporters who demand hush money for burying negative stories, which often are untrue, Xinhua said.

“This behavior has severely violated the rights of ordinary people, damaged media organizations’ reputations and smeared the image of journalists,” Jiang said.

China adopted tough measures to crack down on online rumors last year, but critics say the campaign is simply a means to target criticism of the ruling Communist Party that has chilled political discourse.

China’s news media is heavily censored and media organizations need to obtain licenses from the government before publishing.

State media has been the key vehicle for party propaganda, but reforms over the past decade have allowed greater commercialization and some increase in editorial independence.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

 

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KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (www.moatreport.com), a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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