China steps up regulation of private media

Asian Tech Press (July 10) -- China's Internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), issued a notice on Monday calling for strengthening the management of self-media" in various aspects.

The notice outlined 13 measures, including strengthening the management of information veracity, restricting profits from violations, expanding the management of multi-channel networks (MCNs) belonging to "self-media", and strictly dealing with violations.

According to the CAC, it aims to "improve the regular management system and mechanism, and promote the formation of a good ecology of online public opinion."

In late May, CAC said it had permanently shut down more than 66,600 "self-media" accounts and cleaned up more than 1,410,900 pieces of non-compliant information after a two-month investigation into the alleged dissemination of false information on the Internet, illegal profit-making, and the impersonation of officials and news organisations.

As a matter of fact, there is no strictly private media in China, and almost all of the truly private media are "self-media".

In China, the ban on non-public capital in the media industry has been in place for a long time.

In October 2021, Chinese regulators published a new version of list of government-approved news outlets, requiring Chinese news websites to limit their sources to this list when republishing news.

Notably, prominent financial media outlet Caixin Media was not included on the list, despite the fact that the number of news outlets listed has nearly quadrupled compared to the version published in 2016.

Sharing the same fate as Caixin is the Economic Observer, which was founded in Beijing in 2001 with a 40 million yuan investment from Shandong Sanlian Group Co.

Although the Economic Observer has been transferred to the head of Shandong Province's state-owned Jinan Daily Newspaper Group in April 2021, it is still excluded from the list.

In addition, according to the latest version of China's negative list for market access released in March 2022, non-public capital is prohibited from carrying out news media-related businesses in violation of the law.

It states that non-public capital is not allowed to engage in news gathering, editing, broadcasting and distributing businesses, invest in the establishment and operation of news organisations, or introduce news published by overseas entities.

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