Notice Concerning Adopting Realistic Measures to Prevent False Reporting

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XCBK No. (2009)920

All provincial, autonomous region and municipal press and publications bureau, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Press and Publications Bureau, the Liberation Army General Political Propaganda Department Press and Publications Bureau, all departments and commissions of Central and State organs, all democratic parties, all controlling organizations of people’s organization periodicals, all central newspaper and periodical publishing work units:

During recent periods, because gravely inaccurate reports have been appearing incessantly in a number of periodicals, and a few editors have concocted false news, a number of periodicals have reprinted unverified reports, creating grave social influence,  gravely influencing the regular social production and life order, and damaging the authoritativeness and credibility of news organs. In order to safeguard the rights and interests of the social public, protect the lawful rights and interests of new parties, safeguard the desirable image of news work units and news workers, the relevant issues are notified as follows:

I, Reality is the life of news work. Periodical publishing work units must perfect news editing and management systems, adopt forceful measures to guarantee that news reports are true, complete, objective and fair. News organs and their news editors, when engaging in news gathering activities, shall persist in correct public opinion guidance, safeguard State interest and the public interest, must earnestly verify the basic facts of the report, guarantee that the news factors in the report are correct and precise, may not release information that has not been verified, may not publish contributions that have not been verified, and may not conceal news facts that should be reported because of nepotism.

II, News teams are an important productive force in news work. Periodical publishing work units must strengthen news team construction, realistically keep the gate of new staff, staff use and verification. Before appointing editors, a complete assessment must be made of the applicant, his professional history must be strictly examined, people of which harmful work records exist such as drafting false reports, paid-for news, using news reports to obtain improper benefits, etc., may without exception not be hired by periodical publishing work units. It is necessary to establish and perfect editor professional training and on-the-job training systems, it is necessary to adopt measures to guarantee the study time of editors, organize concentrated editor training regularly, strengthening study and education on the Marxist view of news, laws and regulations, professional ethics, professional restraint, etc.

III, Perfecting social security is an important guarantee for stable news teams. Periodical publishing work units must standardize recruitment systems, establish and perfect editor social security systems. Labour employment contracts shall be signed with personnel conforming to news editing professional qualification conditions, after passing examination and assessment, according to laws and regulations such as the “Labour Contract Law”, journalist credentials for editors shall be applied for timely, completing editors “three insurances” payment work on time, issuing editor salary on time and completely, and providing perfect social security for editors to normally do their work; it is necessary to strictly differentiate the status of editor and manager, and management targets may not be issued to editorial departments and editors, managing personnel may not undertake activities under the name of editors, editing and management work must have separation of departments, separation of positions and separation of personnel.

IV, Standardizing newsgathering work is an important guarantee for the truthfulness of news reports. Periodical publishing work units must formulate standard requirements for editors engaging in newsgathering activities, establish and complete internal management and supervision systems. Periodical publishing work units must further perfect internal news report topic selection and approval system, new-gathering arrangement plans and news draft examination and signing-off systems, further standardizing gathering and editing processes, perfecting a triple examination system for drafts; journalists conducting news-gathering activities must earnestly verify their news information sources, actively display journalist credentials, completely cover the parties in news items, fully hear opinions from all sides, guarantee that news facts are accurate and precise; journalists reporting on news events must conduct on-the-spot gathering, it is strictly prohibited to create or compile news on the basis of gossip, news events may not be changed or misrepresented on the basis of guesses and imagination , stopping fabrication and the concoction of stories, strictly prohibiting editors abusing the public opinion supervision power, editors are strictly prohibited to use editing activities to gain improper benefits.

V, Strictly verifying reprinted content is an important segment in preventing false and inaccurate reporting. Reprinted news reports must be verified in advance, periodical publishing work units must establish and complete news reprinting examination and verification management mechanisms. Periodicals reprinting news reports must examine them in advance, and ensure that news is only reprinted after its accuracy and precision is verified, news reports, free contributions received from society and Internet information that have not been verified may not be reprinted, it is strictly prohibited to distort original news report facts, and compile or change the original news report content without authorization.

VI, Perfecting responsibility systems is an important method to curb false and inaccurate reporting. Periodical publishing work units must establish and complete responsibility investigation systems. Where reports are inaccurate because journalists’ gathering news is not deep, not complete or not objective, periodicals’ chief editors must represent the work unit in openly apologizing in the periodical, and the periodical publishing work unit must investigate the responsibility of the corresponding responsible person; where journalists have compiled false reports because they did not gather news on the spot, but relied on gossip, periodical chief editors must represent the work unit in openly apologizing in the periodical and two or more main media outlets in that locality, the periodical’s controlling authority must investigate the responsibility of the main responsible persons of the periodical as well as corresponding responsible persons such as journalists, responsible editors, leading personnel in charge, etc.; where deliberately concocted and speculative false news reports create nasty social effects, damage the image of the State and public interest, the periodical’s chief editor shall take the blame and resign, and the controlling work unit must investigate the responsibility of the periodical’s responsible persons; where reports are false or inaccurate because of not having been verified before reprinting, the periodical’s chief editor must represent the work unit in openly apologizing in the periodical, and the periodical publishing work unit must investigate the responsibility of the corresponding responsible person.

Where periodicals publish false or inaccurate reports that cause damage to the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons or other organizations, the parties may raise a lawsuit with the People’s Courts. All levels’ administrative press and publications departments must support the damaged party in upholding their lawful rights and interests according to the law.

VII, Periodicals’ controlling and sponsoring work units must realistically implement management responsibilities, strengthen guidance and management of the newspapers under their control, establish and complete periodical management systems, strictly investigate and prosecute false and inaccurate reports in periodicals, strictly deal with the corresponding responsible persons that publish false news, and report the results of this openly to society.

VIII, Administrative press and publications departments must strengthen supervision and management, strictly investigate and prosecute false and inaccurate news reporting damaging State interests and the public interest, order corresponding periodicals to make corrections publicly, and impose administrative punishments such as warnings, fines and cessation for rectifications according to the law, taking the gravity of the circumstances in regard; journalists that are verified to have written false or inaccurate reports must be warned, and it must be noted on the a negative professional record, where circumstances are grave, their journalist credentials must be cancelled, and they may not conduct news gathering work for five years, where circumstances are especially grave, they may not engage in news gathering work for the rest of their life. All levels’ administrative press and publications departments must adopt effective measures, supervise controlling and sponsoring work units of periodicals in their dealing with the responsible persons of periodicals that they manage and are responsible for.

All levels’ administrative press and publications departments and all controlling and sponsoring work units of periodicals must, according to the spirit of this Notice, require all periodical publishing work units to actively launch self-examination and self-rectification, establish and complete corresponding systems for periodical news-gathering activities, further standardize news gathering and editing work, realistically adopt effective measures, prevent false reporting, and realistically safeguard the credibility of news work units.

It is hereby notified.

General Administration of Press and Publications

24 March 2009




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