CHINA TOPIX

Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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China Crack Down on News Websites; Bans Them From Publishing Unverified Reports

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(Photo : Wikipedia) Chinese internet regulators have banned online media from publishing unverified news reports and content.

Online media websites that publish news reports based on content derived from unverified sources like social media are required to confirm the sources before they go live, said China's Internet regulator on Sunday (July 3).

China imposed the ban on online media after the country's Internet watchdogs, The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), penalized several websites for publishing fake and fabricated news earlier this year.

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These websites include sina.com, 163.com, ifeng.com and the news outlet run by one of China's tech giants, Tencent.

In February, the Caijing Magazine published a story based on unverified online sources about a village located in the northeastern part of China, whose inhabitants were described by the publication as being disrespectful towards elders and the village's women were portrayed as promiscuous. The story instantly went viral on the Internet.

The CAC released a notice on Sunday stating that online news websites must accredit sources, social media in particular, and are banned from concocting stories or distorting facts, according to state-owned news publication Xinhua.

The notification requires online media outlets to "provide real, objective, and impartial coverage by improving news production procedures and internal checking mechanisms." The CAC has also directed local cyberspace watchdogs to crack down on news websites that report stories based on rumors and speculation.

The ban comes months after China banned more than 200 websites and 6,000 social media accounts because they contained illegal content such as pornography and fabricated information while others promoted gambling and terrorism, according to Global Times.

The CAC also shut down websites of fake educational institutions that tricked prospective students into enrolment with fake degree certificates.

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