China cracks down on rumours in media

Nov 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Censorship, Conspiracy Theories

Chinese newspapers

As government and military officials look more and more to China, members of Pakistan’s journalism community should take notice of certain recent developments. Chinese authorities announced this week that they are tightening regulations governing journalists, specifically, rule that require reports to fact check and have actual evidence before publishing sensational claims and conspiracy theories.

The new rules also require journalists to produce at least two sources for any “critical” news reports and to personally conduct interviews when gathering information.

False reports must be followed by corrections and apologies, the statement said, and serious violations could lead to the suspension or even the revocation of a news outlet’s government-issued license.

“False reports not only seriously hurt the interests of the parties involved, but also seriously undermine the credibility of the news media, or even seriously affect the social and economic order,” the agency stated in a question-and-answer article released by the state news agency Xinhua.

Because this blog does not support government restrictions on reporters, we hope that our colleagues in the journalism profession in Pakistan will implement a code of conduct to ensure professionalism voluntarily. The Zardari-Gilani government has demonstrated that it will allow all sorts of malicious rumour-mongering and conspiracy theories to be published without using the power of government to take revenge on the media, but no one can know if the next government will be as patient.

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