In latest effort by Chinese government to tighten its grip over the country’s web and information industries, its top internet regulator ordered major online companies to stop original news reporting.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has fined several websites for violating internet publication rules and ordered them to "rectify" pages with news stories based on their own reporting, state media reported on Monday.
The companies have “seriously violated” internet regulations by carrying plenty of news content obtained through original reporting, causing “huge negative effects.” According to the rules, they can only carry reports provided by government-controlled print or online media.
Websites run by Sina Corp, Sohu.com Inc, Netease Inc, Phoenix New Media Ltd's iFeng and others had engaged in "actions that had a completely vile effect". The sites were ordered to "rectify" their wrongdoing and slapped with administrative fines.
"All the (items) that were shut down or cleaned up included websites and web pages, mobile clients, public WeChat accounts and other platforms for propagation," the Beijing Times said.
President Xi Jinping has presided over a crackdown on dissent and has sought to strengthen the Party's control over the flow of news and information.
This month, the CAC said it was launching a crackdown on the reporting of news gathered from social media, as part of what the government calls a campaign against fake news and the spreading of rumors. The sweeping ban gives authorities near-absolute control over online news and political discourse.