Earlier this week, CDT reported on rumors that two major Beijing newspapers, Beijing News and Beijing Times, had been moved under the direct authority of the Beijing Propaganda Department. As the Guardian reports, the rumors have been confirmed:
Officials announced the move to reporters on the Beijing Times and the Beijing News – known for its bold reporting – at meetings on Friday afternoon.
Some journalists blamed the development on official anger at the reporting of the fatal high-speed train crash in Wenzhou in July, although others believe it reflects a broader struggle over control of the media.
“It means there will be so much we can’t do,” an employee of one of the affected titles said. “[Before] there was news that other papers couldn’t do but we could.”
Searches for Beijing News and Beijing Times on Sina’s popular microblogging service appeared to be blocked. One journalist who posted about the change received a message from the service ordering him to delete the post or lose his account.
Previously, the papers were overseen by state level propaganda authorities. Journalists fear the switch may also restrict their ability to cover events in the capital and sensitive news from other areas.