China to Create Blacklist of Local Journalists

This dire-sounding report is from AP:

According to a report in the China Press and Publishing Journal, the agency that exercises control over the state-owned Chinese media plans to “establish a database of media professionals with a bad record.”

It said reporters who violate the rules or laws will have their press cards taken away. “Their names will be entered into the list and they will be restricted from news reporting or editing work,” Li Dongdong, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, was quoted as saying.

China’s state-run media are tightly controlled and regularly censored in reporting the news. China relaxed some restrictions on foreign media during the Olympic Games last summer, but has since backtracked. Sensitive or negative issues are often ignored while Chinese journalists have been imprisoned for aggressive reporting on corruption in the private sector or the government.

The national database is among a series of regulations being proposed to boost government supervision of news coverage, Li said. Among them are tightened reviews for press credentials as well as standardized qualifications for newspaper and magazine editors.

Meanwhile. Xinhua reports that a new classification of press cards will forbid government officials from refusing interviews with selected journalists:

A new entry in government-issued press cards, to be added later this month, might help many Chinese reporters persuade tight-lipped officials to talk.

The entry will say: “The governments at all levels should facilitate the reporting of journalists who hold this card and provide necessary assistance.”

“Without a proper reason, government officials must not refuse to be interviewed,” said Zhu Weifeng, a senior official with the General Administration of Press and Publication.

Many considered this a positive signal that the authorities welcomed supervision from the media.

February 13, 2009 1:17 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society