This article was published nearly simultaneously by almost all state-run media organizations in China. I could not find the actual notice spoken of on the SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television) website, but I have translated the article about the regulations in full below:
SARFT to enhance control over editors’ online activities
Editors setting up professional Weibo accounts must receive approval from their work units; if they have not received approval, they may not publish any information obtained through their professional activities.
● All news work units are forbidden from using news/informational products from foreign media or foreign websites without first obtaining permission;
●It is expressly forbidden for editors to use internet platforms to participate in activities such as seeking illegal benefits; such editors will be investigated according to the law;
●News work units that have established official Weibo accounts must keep records for their managing work unit and appoint a person to be responsible for posting information.
In order to allow the internet to play as active a role as possible, and in order to promote the establishment of a healthy news order, SARFT recently released “Notice on Enhancing Control over Editors’ Online Activities,” which requires that control be enhanced over news editors’ use of online information and registering of personal Weibo accounts, as well as other online activities.
The “Notice” requires that news editors must uphold the policy of encouraging unity and stability, and promoting positive coverage in the main, while actively using traditional media, news sites, blogs, Weibo accounts and other methods of information dissemination to broadcast mainstream information, guide public opinion, and take the initiative to reject leaks and broadcasts of harmful information; they must not use or report online information that has not been verified through official channels, and must not disseminate or repost online rumors or speculative information.
The “Notice” outlined “3 Steps Forward”: one step forward in the improved regulation of news editors’ actions, one step forward in the enhancement of management over media news websites, and one step forward in the management of blogs and Weibo. Of these, in the portion pertaining to improved regulation of news editors activities, the “Notice” requires strict control over news editorial activities and the editorial and review process by news work units; and the prevention of the production of false news intended to gain as many readers, viewers and listeners as possible through one-sided, sensationalist coverage. All news work units are also forbidden from using news or informational products from foreign media or foreign websites without first obtaining permission.
Regarding the one step forward in the enhancement of management over media news websites, the “Notice” requires that news work units must enhance control over news website content-review process checkpoints and the online activities of news editors, and must strictly review and verify all information posted by news websites according to the standards and procedures by which traditional media report the news. It is forbidden to lend, rent out or entrust news editorial work in websites and website channels to others, and it is forbidden for individuals without news journalist permits to interview others or post reports on websites or online channels. All news work units are forbidden from posting unverified information provided from news “informants,” special authors, public organizations, commercial organizations, or other sources without receiving permission.
As for the one step forward in enhancing control over blogs and Weibo, the “Notice” requires that news work units that have established official Weibo accounts must keep records for their managing work nuit and appoint a person to be responsible for posting information. It also requires that they must quickly delete harmful information. News editors must receive permission from their work units to set up professional Weibo accounts, and must not post information on Weibo that violates laws, regulations, or managing rules from their own media organizations. Without approval, they are not permitted to post any kind of information obtained through their professional activities.
The “Notice” has also clearly regulated the enhancement of supervision over the news and public opinion, requiring news work units to continuously enhance and improve the supervision and control over public opinion. News editors are not allowed to exploit control over public opinion to seek readers, advertising, or assistance from grassroots organizations or individuals; they are not allowed to post false information online, and without review, verification, and approval from their news organization, are not allowed to publish news information obtained through professional interviews on foreign websites.
Furthermore, the “Notice” makes clear that news and publishing industry government administrative departments everywhere and all news and media management work units must fully carry out their responsibilities in management according to their region and level, and must enhance supervision and management of news journalists and their news activities in local media, media under their jurisdiction, and journalists in their jurisdiction from central media organizations, as well as central media branch organizations, and local channels on news sites.
Editors using internet platforms to participate in activities such as seeking illegal benefits must be expressly opposed, and will be investigated according to the law; these editors may be barred for an appropriate period of time, or forbidden in perpetuity, from working as news editors. (Journalist Pu Yasu)