Minitrue: 21st Century Net Extortion Case
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
This evening, Xinhua will issue a report on the latest details in the case of suspected news extortion by 21st Century Net. Please strictly adhere to the Xinhua document in your coverage. Do not quote other sources. Also, all media are asked to pair coverage with editorial condemning 21st Century Net’s illegal behavior and firmly supporting the public security response. (September 11, 2014)
Eight people were arrested last week on suspicion of involvement in a scheme to extort businesses into paying for good press. 21st Century Net, a Chinese site linked to the 21st Century Business Herald, is accused of charging companies as much as 300,000 RMB (49,000 USD) to avoid negative reporting. In an appearance on CCTV, editor-in-chief Zhou Bin said the media group called this money a “protection fee.”
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.