It was about six months ago when global stock markets were crashing, that China tightened its control on local media, and ordered the local press and news outlets to stick to "positive reporting" or else "risk the stability of the country." As we reported back in February "China is now openly declaring war on anyone who dares to even suggest that not all may be well in China. A separate commentary by Xinhua yesterday said that controlling public opinion was essential for a a ruling party: “With one hand we grab the guns; with the other we grab the pens,” it said. “Mobilising public opinion is the great tradition of our party.”In other words, China is worried that popular anger and negative sentiment is starting to stir especially after the recent economic troubles, and that those who dare to promote an objective version of reality will likely be promptly quieted."
Since then while superficially the economy may have improved on the back of nearly $2 trillion in freshly-created new loans, it appears that reports of bad news have not stopped. As such, China has decided to come up with an even more draconian measure: ban original reporting altogether.
Chinese authority to shut down news-gathering sectors(breaking and investigative) of multiple portals. Confirmed. pic.twitter.com/wTE9J5VUgc— Wei ZHOU (@cissy_chow) July 22, 2016
According to The Paper, major internet portals in China including Sina, Sohu, Netease and Ifeng.com have shut down some of their original reporting operations after receiving “harsh criticism” from country’s top industry regulator.
As Bloomberg adds, the Beijing branch of Cyberspace Administration of China has set deadlines for portals for rectification. It also reports that an unidentified head of Beijing branch cited portals for violating China’s internet regulations by carrying plenty of news content obtained through original reporting.
What happens to those who dare to do what news organizations are expected to by definition, i.e., original reporting? Nothing good: portals also to face other penalties including fines and warnings.
Full source from China's The Paper, google translated:
Recently, the Beijing Information Office of the territorial network Sina, Sohu, Netease, Phoenix and other sites provide a large number of illegal behavior in the presence of Internet News Information Service raised harsh criticism, ordered the site to be a deadline for correction.
Currently, Sina has been shutting down "Geek News" section, are cleaning "Sina studio" section of the offending content; Sohu has been shutting down "News party", "rad", "click Today" and other columns;
Netease been shut down. " echo "," roadmap "and other columns, is cleaning" School of Journalism "section of the offending content; Phoenix has been shut down" serious report "section. All shut down, cleaning section including website pages, mobile clients, micro-channel public account other publishing platform.
Beijing letter network do the responsible person, said the channel was ordered to rectification column, a serious violation of the national "Provisions on the Administration of Internet News Information Services" provisions of Article XVI, were published a large number of self-editing of news and information, and serious violations , a very bad influence. Beijing Information Office in addition to ordering the territorial network related sites suspected of illegal channels to be rectification column, the law will give a warning and impose a fine of administrative penalties.
The next stage, the Beijing Municipal Information Office will continue to increase network administration and law enforcement, standardize territorial website news and information service activities, maintain good order in the Internet industry. Welcome to the majority of users of the Internet illegal and unhealthy information supervision and reporting, and jointly create a good ecological network.
What happens next? Sooner rather than later, China prohibits all forms of "original reporting", at which point the only allowed form of "news" will be whatever the politburo greenlights... very much in the same way that the DNC would preapprove articles by Washington Post or segments by MSNBC or CNN.