China takes Control
China has now introduced a new move to censor and control the media. The Cyberspace Administration has decided to keep a tab on news channels that use information on social media. The Chinese government informs us that this is an attempt on their part to curb the spreading of false news. This action also may have another side, it may be another move by the government to control public opinion.
The New York Times
According to The New York Times, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a statement saying “It is strictly forbidden for websites not to specify or to falsify news sources and to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” and that they plan to punish more news outlets and websites that “directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media.”
Here are three examples of stories deemed to be “untrue” by the Chinese Government, according to the NYT:
• The decay of moral standards in villages in northeastern China.
• Arson on a bus in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province.
• A girl from Shanghai flees from a Lunar New Year dinner at her boyfriend’s family home in the south because of appalling living conditions.
These three reports share a common theme. According to The New York Times it is very obvious that the Chinese government wouldn’t want it’s people to know about these news.
What does South China Morning Post?
According to the South China Morning Post, online outlets must at first get approval from the government before reporting news found on social media. The Cyberspace Administration statement said that the agency had punished multiple Chinese news websites, but didn’t give any details about how exactly these outlets were punished.
Dual Sides of the Censorship
The Censorship that has been proposed by the Chinese government seems to have a dual side. On one side it is trying to control the news that will reach to the common people. The government is trying this process to prevent the interference of the common people. They will be only portraying those news to the public, which will in no way harm the reputation of their government. It really cannot be denied that it is a very smart move on their part to control the administration of their country.
On the other hand their new policy also has a positive side. It will prevent the publication of false and crap news. In the days when social media is the biggest platform for communication, different news are published on a daily basis on the social media, which tend to mislead the general public. China’s step towards this change may also have a positive effect as it will prevent the sensationalizing of any and every news that comes up on the social platforms.