China bans using social media content as “news”

By : |July 4, 2016 0

Just a week after China’s internet censorship chief Lu Wei stepped down, the internet regulator has launched a fresh crackdown on social media content and has restricted media organizations from reporting of news gathered from social media, with the government terming it as a campaign against fake news and the spreading of rumors.

The Cyberspace Administration of China on Sunday said that online media cannot report any news taken from social media sites without approval. “It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” it said in a statement.

The move is being seen as an attempt to curb news that can prove detrimental to the ruling government. The Chinese government already exercises widespread controls over the internet and has sought to codify that policy in law.

“All levels of the cyberspace administration must earnestly fulfill their management responsibility for internet content, strengthen supervision and investigation, severely probe and handle fake and un-factual news,” the regulator added.

Chinese officials say that internet restrictions, including the blocking of popular foreign sites like Google and Facebook, are necessary to rein in social threats like terrorism, and stop the spread of damaging rumors. However, foreign governments and business groups view it as a broader trade issue.

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