Notice concerning the Investigation and Prosecution Situation of False and Inaccurate News on Chinanews.com and Other Media
XCTZ No. (2013)121
All provincial, autonomous region and municipal press and publication bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Press and Publications Bureau, the Liberation Army General Political Department Propaganda Department Press and Publications Bureau, all Central and State Ministries and Commissions, the controlling work units of newspapers and periodicals in all democratic parties and all people’s organizations, the main Central news work units
In recent years, “marching to the grass roots, transforming work styles and improving writing styles” activities have been deeply launched on the news front, news work units have incessantly standardized newsgathering activities and obtained good effects, but there still are a small number of media and journalists who do not deeply verify news clues and network information, and publish false or inaccurate reports, creating a harmful social influence. Hereby, the investigation and prosecution situation of some false and inaccurate media reporting that attracted broad attention in society, is notified:
1. The investigation and prosecution situation of Chinanews.com concerning a report of a Shenzhen girl feeding a handicapped beggar on the street. On 25 March 2013, Chinanews.com published a report by a journalist of the China News Agency Guangdong Branch “Post-90s girl in Shenzhen Feeds Handicapped Beggar on Street, Moving Passers-by”. The report stated that a post-90s girl kneeled down to feed a handicapped beggar, and new pictures were distributed. After investigation, the said report is gravely inconsistent with reality. After the China News journalist received letters from society on the “Shenzhen post-90s girl feeding a beggar”, he did not deeply gather news and verify but edited and released the text and pictures, and they were uploaded on Chinanews.com, with the journalist signing as writer and photographer, moreover, editorial examination and gatekeeping was not strict, resulting in the publication of false reports online, creating a harmful social influence. Recently, China News Agency has dealt with the journalist in question, the duty manager of the website of that date, etc., and has at the same time further strengthened examination and verification of contributions from society and other internal newsgathering workflow management.
2. The investigation and prosecution situation of the “China Industry and Commerce Times” concerning a report on a large price rise in natural gas. On 25 March 2013, the “China Industry and Commerce Times” published a report of a journalist of that newspaper “Natural Gas Marketization Reform “in the Last Kilometre”. The report stated that “from April, our country’s natural gas prices will rise substantially, all local retail terminal prices will hit the area 3-3.5 Yuan per cubic meter, and will from there on go to a high of 4 Yuan.”. On 27 March, relevant departments openly refuted the rumour. The investigation found that the journalist only interviewed relevant organs and experts, and did not verify this with State authorities, the newspaper did not strictly keep the gate, resulting in the fact that key information in the report was false, creating harmful social influence. In recent days, the controlling work unit of the “China Industry and Commerce Times”, the China National Industry and Commerce Union, punished the said newspaper’s editor-in-chief, editors on duty, the journalist in question and other responsible persons. The China Industry and Commerce Time Company has launched internal rectification to find and plug loopholes, has further perfected management processes, strengthened employee education and standardized newsgathering and editing activities.
3. The investigation and prosecution situation of the “Information Daily” concerning a report on a tramp becoming wealthy because of housing demolition. On 7 April 2013, the Jiangxi “Information Daily” published a report of a journalist of that newspaper “Vagrant Coming Home after Nine Years Becomes “High Roller” in a Wink”. The report states that some man from Wenzhou, who came home after nine years of vagrancy and begging away from home because of illness, after being helped by the Jiangxi Fu Village aid station personnel, received notification when he came home that because of the development of villages inside cities, he would receive more than 7 million Yuan in land compensation. The investigation found out that the party mentioned in the report receiving “land compensation of more than 7 million Yan” and other key information was rumour by the personnel of the aid station told to others, the journalist did not deeply verify this, gatekeeping at the Information Daily Company was not strict, leading to inaccurate reporting. Recently, the Jiangxi Provincial Press and Publications Bureau charged the Information Daily Company with strictly punishing the relevant responsible persons, and required further perfection of systems, as well as strict precautions against the publication of inaccurate news. The Information Daily Company published the journalist in question, the on-duty editor, the duty manager, the editor-in-chief on duty and other responsible persons.
After the above false and inaccurate reports were published, they created harmful social influence and damaged the credibility of media and the good social image of news workers. All news work units nationwide must take heed from this, take this as an example, and must, according to the “Opinions concerning Further Standardizing Newsgathering Work” jointly issued by the Central Propaganda Department and five other departments, the General Administration of Press and Publications “Some Provisions concerning Strictly Preventing False News Reporting” and the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television “Notice concerning Strengthening Management of Newsgathering Personnel’s Online Activities” and other requirements, further establish and complete newsgathering, editing, verification, publication and other internal management systems, strictly implement the “three examinations” system, strengthen final responsibility, it is prohibited to publish or reprint contributions from unverified social origins and network information, it is prohibited to use terms such as authoritative persons, related persons, persons with information, etc., to blur news information sources, apart from special cases due to national security, secrecy protection, etc.” Newsgathering and editing personnel must persist in the principles of truth, completeness, objectivity and fairness, go deeply into news scenes for investigation and research, fully understand the truth of the matter, to guarantee the truth, objectivity and accuracy of news reports. All localities’ administrative press and publications departments and all news work units’ controlling and sponsoring work units must realistically implement their duties of localized and subordinate management, and controlling or sponsoring work unit management, timely and strictly deal with gravely false and inaccurate reports and openly report the, and further raise the credibility of news media and news journalists in the entire society.
2 May 2013