Li Wufeng (李伍峰): “Safeguarding the Orderly Dissemination of Online News”

liwufengIn China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the Central Propaganda Department, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which has established “Internet Affairs Bureau” to oversee all Websites that publish news, including the official sites of news organizations as well as independent sites that post news content.

In July 5, 2006, the director of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) publicly told the Chinese media that in order to strengthen the monitoring and control of Internet content, one of the necessary measures is to invest in capacity-building through training programs for editors and managers of all the major websites. These training programs had been systematized even before the SCIO’s announcement. Many of these training programs were carried out by News and Communication Schools in Chinese universities; some of them are organized through various official media themselves, but the highest level training program has been one organized by the State Council Information Office itself. In 2005, SCIO organized 10 such training sessions, and this system has continued over the last four years.

Recently, the ninth session of the 2009 SCIO Internet News Work Training Session just finished in Beijing. All participants are top editors and managers of major news websites in China. Trainers are:

* Li Wufeng, Bureau Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Peng Bo, Deputy Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Professor Zhu Feng, Peking University School of International Relations
* Song Fufan, Director of the Ideology and Political Education Teaching and Research Section of the Marxist Theory Research Department at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China
* Zhai Huisheng, Party Secretary of the All China Federation of Working Journalists
* Professor Gao Gang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication
* Xia Chenghua, Deputy Chief of the Central Government Stability Preservation Leading Group Office
* Zhou Xisheng, Deputy Chief of Xinhua News Agency, Director-General of Xinhua News Agency

Soon after the training finished, one of the participants released her notes from this session online, and they have been quickly circulating through Chinese cyberspace. The Internet police has been rapidly deleting copies of the notes and netizens’ comments on them.

CDT has translated the entire collection of notes from this 2009 SCIO Internet News Work training session; in total there are eight articles, which we will publish consecutively in coming days. CDT would like to thank the translator, who wishes to remain anonymous. Here is the first article:

Opening Lecture

Li Wufeng, Bureau Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau

Main points of the lecture:

1, Without media hype there will not be popular internet expressions; if the news is reported in an orderly way, then online public opinion will be harmonious and orderly. It is extremely important to safeguard the orderly dissemination of online news.

2. Currently, the online republishing of news stories has the following major problems:

2.1 Republishing articles from small papers and publications, even republishing articles from the foreign press.

2.2 The online news phenomenon of “news laundering”* is still serious. Sometimes standard news sources do not even carry the story [that the republishing source claimed the standard news source published].

2.3 Intentionally posting unpermitted content on interactive interfaces (forums, blogs).

2.4 Small newspapers and websites republish each others’ stories, creating media hype. For example, the Deng Yujiao incident** and the Hangzhou street race case***.

3, The issues created by these problems are extremely serious. The following are some of the major problems caused:

3.1 Little incidents are hyped into big issues.

3.2 It breeds a base and vulgar culture.

3.3 It seriously influences the direction of public opinion.

4, In response to the above issues, the next step is to vigorously take measures to protect the orderly republication of news stories.

4.1 Improve training, protect the orderly dissemination of online information.

4.2 Each website must improve its internal mechanisms; it is the station of a news editor to be responsible.

4.3 The agencies in charge of supervision must improve their monitoring and inspection.

4.4 Move forward in perfecting a republication system; clearly establish the source of republished articles.

In addition: a list (version three) of news media organizations from which articles can be copied is currently being organized and discussed. It will be made available as soon as possible.

* “News laundering” (xi gao) is a term coined to describe a situation in which a news organization is unable or unauthorized to be the first to publish a certain item of news, and consequently finds another news organization to first post the news. When the news has been posted by the second news organization, the first news organization will republish the news citing the second news organization.

** The Deng Yujiao incident refers to a case in which a young woman claimed that she stabbed a Party official in self defense after he solicited sex. The internet was critical in rallying public support that likely led to her acquittal. Read more from CDT.

*** The Hangzhou street race case refers to a case in which a wealthy young man, Hu Bin, struck and killed another young man, Tan Zhuo as Hu was speeding in Hangzhou. Hu Bin was later convicted, after the case aroused a great deal of online discussion about the role of wealth in judicial proceedings.

2009-12-9《开班式讲话》
  国新办网络局局长李伍峰
  发言要点:
 一、没有新闻的炒作,则不会有网络流行语;新闻报道有序,则网上舆论和谐有序。维护好网上新闻传播秩序十分重要。
  二、当前网络新闻转载主要存在以下问题:
  1、转载小报小刊的文章,甚至是境外媒体的。
  2、新闻网站“洗稿”现象严重,某些新闻标准的新闻来源并没有该新闻。
  3、有意在互动栏目(论坛、博客)贴发违规内容。
  4、小报和网站相互转载炒作事件。如邓玉娇事件,杭州飙车案。
  三、而这些问题造成的影响也极其严重,主要有以下几点:
  1、把小事情炒作得很大。
  2、助长恶俗文化和恶搞文化。
  3、舆论导向会受到严重影响。
  四、针对以上情况,下一步要积极采取措施,维护网上转载秩序。
  1、加强培训,维护网上信息传播秩序。
  2、各网站要加强自我建设,新闻编辑上岗必须责任制。
  3、监管机构要加强巡查检查。
  4、进一步完善转载制度,明确转载稿源。
  另:可供装载的新闻媒体名单(第三批)正在组织讨论制订,将会尽快公布下发。

[To be continued]