Liyang City Police Provisional Regulations on Managing News
Less than three weeks ago, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced that new rules on reporting activities by foreign correspondents on its territory, originally issued for the Olympics, would be made permanent. The rules allow foreign journalists to travel outside Beijing and conduct interviews without first applying to foreign affairs departments.
The new rules are certainly a positive gesture. But the following internal documents (translated by CDT’s Lucy Lin) from a local government Public Security Bureau shows us another side of the story. Chinese authorities at every level have refined their information management and propaganda work, setting up more systematic and sophisticated control mechanisms for domestic and foreign reporters alike, long before Liu Jianchao’s announcement. The document was available last week on the official website of the Liyang City government in Jiangsu Province, but has since been removed. Liyang is a County-level city of three million people on the border of Jiangsu and Anhui, part of the Shanghai Economic Development Zone.
A Notice Regarding the issuance of the “City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News and Propaganda Work”
Liyang City Public Security Bureau
Liyang City Public Security Bureau (2007) No. 87
A Notice Regarding the issuance of the “City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News and Propaganda Work”
To: All the Units in This Bureau:
The documents, “The City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News and Propaganda Work,” “Provisional Regulations Regarding On-the-Spot News Coverage Involving Sudden Incidents,” and “Procedural and Response Guidance for the Frontline Police Handling On-the-Spot Interviews on Breaking News” are hereby issued to everyone. Please carefully study, integrate, and implement these regulations.
October 22, 2007
Keywords: News propaganda, rules, notice
Copy: Municipal Department of Propaganda, The Political Affairs Department of Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security
Administrative Office of Liyang City Public Security Bureau, Printed on October 24, 2007
Typed by Shi Lijun, proofread by Huang Kewen, Total copies : 6
The City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News Publication
Chapter 1: General provisions
Based on current national laws, legislation, and directives about propaganda work of Public Security from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, the Provincial Department of Public Security, and the Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security, these provisions are formulated to standardize and strengthen the management of news propaganda by the City Public Security Bureau.
The guidelines for the City Public Security Bureau’s propaganda work must emphasize serving the general interest and adhering to the principles of unity, stability, and positive encouragement to increase the vigor of propaganda relating to the work of public security agencies. An operative propaganda system, led by the Public Security Bureau Party leaders, managed by the Department of propaganda, and participated in by all our agencies and individual officers, should be established.
The Bureau’s news propaganda work should be listed with other areas of work as a target of work evaluation. Those who have achieved an outstanding performance in the news propaganda work should be commended.
Chapter 2: Management of News Coverage of Our Public Security Bureau
The Public Security Bureau in this city, in principle, accepts interviews only from those journalists from news agencies above the provincial level or those who specifically cover news in the field of public security from Changzhou municipal level.
The Administrative Office of the Bureau will be fully responsible for receiving the reporters, arranging for their news gathering, and approving their reports. Any report that touches upon the details of a particular department of this Bureau must be thoroughly reviewed and approved by that particular department and the Administrative Office of the Bureau.
If any department wants to receive a reporter itself, it must submit an application to the Administrative Office of the Bureau for approval (if the reporter comes from a Changzhou municipal news agency, the Administrative Office must in turn report the application to the Department of Propaganda of Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security for approval or for appointment of itself as a delegate in reviewing the consequent report.) In principle, this Bureau will not accept telephone interviews from journalists from other provinces or from abroad and will not accept interviews from resident reporters, guest reporters, or freelance reporters.
Foreign reporters and reporters from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who come to this city’s Public Security Bureau for interviews must obtain approval from the Provincial Party Committee, the related departments of the Provincial Government, and the Provincial Police Department. The Administrative Office of this Bureau will first report any upcoming interview to the Department of Propaganda of Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security, which will in turn report it to the Department of Propaganda of the Provincial Department of Public Security and Changzhou Municipal Party Committee Department of Propaganda for approval.
Then this Bureau will take up the responsibility of arranging for the interview and reviewing the resulting report and also recording the event with the Municipal Propaganda Department, the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, and the Changzhou Municipal Office of Entry and Departure Administration.
As the foreign reporters and reporters from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who have received approval for interviews are concerned, the units and individuals who are interviewed ought to strictly comply with propaganda discipline, strengthen the notion of secrecy, and arrange and conduct the interviews with the approved scope and content in mind. They must not make revisions to interview plans or leak any public security secrets without authorization.
Departments under this Bureau must not invite journalists for interviews on their own accord. If they need to publicize something, they can ask the Administrative Office of this Bureau to make arrangements. Without approval, no policeman or staff member of this Bureau may privately invite news reporters for interviews or supply videotapes, photographs, or documents that involve the work of public security to news agencies.
For emergency events and serious criminal cases, the Administrative Office of the Bureau will immediately dispatch news coordinators to the scene to manage news coverage. The city Public Security Bureau and police force should strictly follow “Provisional Regulations Regarding on-the-Spot
News Coverage Involving Emergency Events,” and “Procedural and Response Guidance for the Frontline Police Handling On-the-Spot Interviews on Breaking News” in response to the interviews conducted by news reporters.
The responsible units handling the emergency events or serious criminal cases must actively assist and support the news coordinators at the scene in managing the work of reporter interviews.
In handling community activities, all the public security agencies in this city have to feasibly strengthen the management and control of on-the-spot news coverage of community activities. No one can record, videotape, photograph, interview, or report at the scene of the event without approval.
Chapter 3 – Management of News Reports on the Work of Public Security
The major leading officers of this Bureau are responsible for strengthening the management of news coverage. They bear the direct responsibilities of guiding, organizing, and inspecting news coverage of the work of this Public Security Bureau.
The Administrative Office of this Bureau is in charge of assisting the Bureau leaders in managing the news coverage of public security, closely following discipline and rules of propaganda work, organizing interviews, and reviewing reports. The case-handling units are responsible for assisting the Administrative Office to organize interviews and verify interview reports.
The Administrative Office must preview and check through the rough drafts of news reports that the city Public Security Bureau releases to the public. Any rough drafts that haven’t been previewed or checked are not allowed to be released to the news media.
Any propaganda material concerning above-the-middle-ranking officers as individuals or as part of an Exemplary Unit must be approved by the leaders of the Bureau before being sent to the related municipal departments and the Propaganda Department of Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security for further review and approval.
The cases involving police officers violating rules and the total number of these violators are not publicly disclosed. Any case or number that must be reported must get approval from the Department of Political Affairs of this Bureau and the Discipline Inspection Department of this Bureau.
The Administrative Office will examine and approve the reporting of general cases. Reporting of important cases, however, must be examined by the Administrative Office, but approved by the leaders of this Bureau.
Emergency events or details of serious criminal cases that need to be announced to the public ought to be written and edited by the handling departments or offices and reviewed by the leaders of the Bureau, Municipal Propaganda Department, and the Department of Propaganda of Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security before being released to the news media. The reporting of emergency events or serious criminal cases that happen in sensitive districts must be examined and approved by the municipal government and Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security.
The reporting time, length and content of drafts need to be controlled in the news coverage of all other cases according to the laws of releasing cases. The reporting of cases can issue warnings to the public and raise awareness among the masses. Other than the Special Operations and Unified Operations by the Ministry of Public Security, nothing should be consecutively reported to avoid the excessive concentration of news cases in a period of time.
Chapter 4 – The Handling of Public Opinion Crisis Involving the Police Force
Strong standards should be established in handling public opinion crises involving the police force. The corresponding contingency plans should be worked out when faced with accidents. Favorable interactions should be formed by responding quickly and assisting police in combat, seizing the moment, and taking initiative, strengthening communication with news media, and emphasizing the guidance of public opinion. A unified approach to respond to the news media should be promptly adopted to avoid any negative effects.
An orderly system should be established and perfected in studying and evaluating the information and public opinion related to the Ministry of Public Security’s work and personnel. The emphasis is on the opinions and suggestions from the news media on the work of the police force, the news media’s mirroring of the heated discussions that all social circles have related to the police force and personnel, and the news media’s latest reports and development of special topics.
Strict system of reporting situations. All units who are interviewed by reporters must understand and grasp the reporter’s identity, contact information, and interview objectives. These units and all other units who find in their daily routines possible information that may trigger public opinion crises such as contact information of related parties should immediately report to the Municipal Office. The Municipal Office ought to quickly raise opinions or suggestions on handling this kind of work and report to the primary persons in charge at the Municipal Office and to the leaders of business departments. All units should work hard to resolve public opinion crisis involving the police at its very beginning by quickly coordinating with the related departments on handling them.
The municipal office will handle public opinion crises involving the police force. For the ordinary crises, the municipal office will lead, the office will organize, and the other related departments will cooperate in handling the cases. The office will directly handle cases where the respective departments in charge are not clear, and other related departments will cooperate. The Changzhou Municipal Department of Propaganda needs to be notified for any serious crises that may generate negative public opinions in order to organize efforts in handling the cases.
The main person in charge is the number one responsible person at the local department related to public opinion crises. The office is responsible for the leadership of the entire group.
The news media need to be contacted in advance and the trends of public opinions need to be grasped when handling crises involving the police force. The investigation needs to be conducted as soon as possible to prevent any rumors from arising. The responses of the report should be consulted to control the advancement of negative influences. Those who have not met with the news media need to immediately contact the news media, analyze the growing trends of public opinions, and convince the news media to not report, delay its reporting or only report certain information after consultation of how to frame the story. Those who have already met with the news media need to quickly investigate related facts, draft related responses, and consult with the news media to supply follow-up reports to keep negative influences at a minimum. Those who are likely to meet with a lot of news media need to quickly draft responses and exert authority by convening news conferences, issuing public news statements and the like.
After all tasks are completed, related agencies need to review the problems revealed during the process of handling public opinion crises, and seriously study lessons learned.
The office and command center need to cooperate and communicate with one another to establish and complete the work of guiding Internet public opinion and be effective in preventing the Internet media from publishing any negative material relating to the Public Security Bureau. According to the office’s requirements, when the Internet has touched upon issues involving police and opinions, the established team of Internet commentators should participate in propaganda operations and positively guide Internet public opinion.
For the news media’s negative reporting that lacks evidence, all units must promptly report to the Department of Propaganda and the higher authorities at the Public Security Bureau and inform all news agencies of the actual facts. Based on the degree of damage that has been created, the units will require news agencies to make the appropriate corrections and apologize or issue public statements. If it is necessary, the law can be used as a weapon to defend legal rights and protect the favorable image of the Public Security Bureau and police force. If the report turns out to be accurate, all units should take the initiative to inform the news media of the circumstances and present the opinions, results, and measures of reform that the Public Security Bureau plans to carry out.
The cases involving the Public Security Bureau and police force’s violation of laws and discipline must be investigated. The results should be reported to the news media and higher authorities of the Public Security Bureau.
Seriously investigate who is responsible for triggering public opinion crises involving the police force, strive to control and reduce the occurrences of public opinion crises involving the police force. According to the principle of responsibility that “whoever causes the action takes full responsibility,” the related responsible departments must take the responsibility. The related units will take full responsibility for the non-performance of duties, mistakes, or misconduct and violation of discipline done by its personnel or police officers. The responsible departments will take full responsibility for the consequences caused by the news coverage sent by the news media, of which the rough drafts have not been carefully evaluated.
Chapter 5 – Spokesmen and the Release of Public Security News Coverage
City Public Security Bureau should establish and implement a system of Police Spokespeople, in which Police Spokespeople are responsible for releasing news to the public, accepting interviews from news reporters, and reviewing and evaluating the rough drafts that will be published.
The presentation of news about Public Security includes news conferences, drafts, and on-the-scene reports. Significant news will be presented at news conferences. The Administrative Office of this Bureau is responsible for organizing and presiding over news conferences. General public security news coverage will be presented through drafts. The Administrative Office of the Bureau is responsible for delivering or authorizing to deliver these drafts to the related news agencies. Major cases and accidents that need to be released at the scene should be approved by the principle responsible person(s) from the city public security bureau and be presented by the person in charge or appointed to be at the scene. Other police officers at the scene should maintain secrecy of the matter and cannot leak out any state of affairs. In principle, nothing can be released to the public until the causes of accidents/actions are investigated and checked thoroughly.
In principle, the city public security bureau will not convene a news conference. If a news conference is necessary under special circumstances, the city public security bureau must obtain approval from the municipal committee of propaganda and Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security.
Chapter 6 – Handling violations of regulations on the management of news publication in Public Security
All the Units in the city Public Security Bureau and all police officers must carry out all the regulations on the management of public security news report and coverage issued by the Ministry of Public Security, Provincial Ministry of Public Security, Changzhou Municipal Department of Public Security and strictly comply with the the Public Security’s propaganda discipline.
Violators of propaganda discipline, who have not caused consequences, will be subject to criticism and made known to the public. The persons in charge of units and/or individuals, who have brought about serious consequences or negative influences, will receive party and administrative discipline. Their units and the main heads will be disqualified for any end-of-the-year appraisals and competition.
Violators of propaganda discipline, who have caused the leakage of national secrets and public security secrets, the exposure of investigation methods, the effects on the investigating cases, and serious damage to the image of the Public Security Bureau, will be subject to investigation. The related leaders and directly responsible persons will be investigated for responsibility of such violations according to the related laws, legislation, and provisions.
Chapter 7 – Supplementary Provisions
These provisions are applicable to all the units under the city Public Security Bureau, such as the police force, fire fighters, and security units.
The Administrative Office of this Bureau is responsible for the explanation of these provisions.
Provisional Regulations Regarding On-the-Spot News Coverage Involving Cases/Accidents
These provisions are formulated according to the requirements stated in Chapter 2 of the “City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News Publication” issued by the city Public Security Bureau to further standardize the management of on-the-spot news coverage on accidents and serious cases.
On-the-spot News Coverage
In addition to the on-the-spot news coverage of cases (accidents) authorized by Changzhou Municipal Public Security Department, the city Public Security Bureau will appoint a designated person to be responsible for releasing information, which will be reported to Changzhou Municipal Department of Propaganda for records purposes. (For issuance details, see “City Public Security Bureau Provisional Regulations on the Management of News Publication”)
The command center is the first unit to report the incident/accident. The Administrative Office of this Bureau should get to the scene as quickly as possible after receiving notification from the command center, and gather any information on the case, take control over the scene, and collect video recordings, draft news coverage, and coordinate with the news media. At the same time, it should report to the major leaders and managers of sub-unit at the city Public Security Bureau.
According to the circumstances at the scene, if it believes that it is necessary to release news at the scene, the Administrative Office of the city Public Security Bureau can set up a temporary news coverage booth near the scene, gather reporters on-site, and have a related staff member release news having obtained an authorization from the spokesman of the city Public Security Bureau or an approval from the person in charge at the scene.
Management of On-Site Reporters
The news coordinators dispatched by the administrative office of this Bureau are responsible for managing and coordinating with the reporters on-site at the scene of the accident to prevent them from obstructing the police work or from interviewing on-site police officers without authorization. The on-site news coordinator should wear the “On-Site News Coordinator Card” issued by Changzhou Municipal Public Security Department (Red Card).
Reporters must wear an “On-Site News Interview Card” (Blue Card) to enter the designated areas of the scene to conduct interviews. Only those political and legal reports who are specialized and engaged in public security news coverage and interviews at or above the provincial level or from Changzhou news agencies may use the “On-Site News Interview Card.”
All the frontline police officers in accident cases must strictly comply with and carry out the regulations listed on the “Procedural and Response Guidance for the Frontline Police Handling On-the-Spot Interviews on Breaking News” issued by the city Public Security Bureau.
“Procedural and Response Guidance for the Frontline Police Handling On-the-Spot Interviews on Breaking News”
The police should clearly inform reporters not to go beyond the caution tapes and interception points set by the police. When reporters request to enter a controlled area for interviews, the police must first inspect their identifying documents and allow them to pass on the basis of the permissible designation identified in the card, or urge them to leave.
When foreign reporters enter restricted areas for interviews, the on-site policemen should first explain to them the regulations and advise them not to intervene, and, at the same time, report to the Management Division of Entry.
In the course of supervising reporters, the on-site policemen should enforce the law in a civilized manner, and any use of pushing, dragging, and shoving, or overly behavior of forcibly obstructing filming-taken or confiscating interview equipment are strictly forbidden.
The police may allow the reporting activities by the reporters who are conducting interviews on the streets outside of the restricted areas.
At sudden occurrences such as bombings, fights, vandalism, robbery, arson, or group protests, on-site policemen, while simultaneously controlling the situation, should quickly advise reporters to leave the scene for safety reasons.
Generally, on-site police officers cannot voluntarily accept interviews from the news media. However, they can answer appropriate questions for general knowledge according to the responses guidance.
The police officers should promptly report to the Administrative Office of the Bureau the information regarding the news media at the scene of the incident, including units, number of people, interviewees, and content.
Appropriate responses guidance:
Overall requirements: Strictly maintain secrecy; bear a sincere attitude and friendly tone, be adaptable
If reporters want to enter the restricted areas, such as conferences, residence of leaders, or the scene of incidents (accidents), they can be informed, “I’m sorry. This is a restricted area. According to the provision set by the Ministry of Public Security that ‘anyone who hasn’t received permission must not step over the caution tapes and enter the restricted areas,’ you cannot go into the restricted area. Please quickly retreat beyond the tapes. Thank you for your cooperation.”
If reporters claim that “we are not subject to the limitation of the caution tapes for our interviews of major sudden events, for we have obtained authorization from the Municipal Committee Department of Propaganda,” on-site police officers may respond: “For the need for police work, you cannot go within the caution tapes right now. Please cooperate with our work.”
If reporters interview security guards on duty with questions on confidential matters, such as regarding a leader’s itinerary, time arrangements, police allocation, or security measures, they can answer, “I’m sorry. My responsibilities are to maintain safety and security here. Your questions touch confidential information. I cannot reply to your questions.”
If reporters request police officers to aid in their reporting of events, the officers can inform them, “You can contact the administrative office of the Bureau to make interview arrangements. I am on duty right now and have no authority to answer your questions.”
Other rejection answers are as follow: I’m sorry, I am on duty right now, and I cannot answer your questions; I’m sorry, I am maintaining order here. Your questions are not within the scope of my duty to answer.
If reporters raise questions not involving confidential information or major cases and instead, ask general inquiries, on-site policemen can reply according to the real situation. Example questions could be “What district is this?” and “Where is this place? etc.”