China has amended its laws concerning press cards, emphasizing the protection of journalists' legal rights, the government's press office has announced.
"By analyzing the new situation and problems in press card administration in recent years, authorities have improved relevant articles to better perform supervisory duties, safeguard citizens' interest and protect journalists' rights," an anonymous press officer with the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) was quoted by Xinhua as saying on Thursday.
The amended measures will take effect on Oct 15, and the old measures issued four years ago will be annulled at the same time, according to an order published on the website of GAPP.
Nine new articles have been added to the administrative measures and some articles have been revised.
Journalists who hold press cards are protected by law, while governments at all levels should ensure and provide convenience for the journalists' reporting, according to the new measures.
No organization or individual may interfere with or hinder the legal reporting activity of news agencies or journalists, the new law says.
In May, two reporters from the Beijing News and Southern People Weekly were attacked and beaten by several unknown persons while they interviewed the grandmother of Deng Yujiao, Central People's Broadcasting Station reported.
Deng was a waitress who stabbed two local officials in Yesanguan, Hubei province, when they tried to sexually assault her. The recordings and photos the reporters took during the interview also were destroyed by the attackers.
In recent years, reporters' reporting rights and their personal safety have been frequently challenged, Cong Chunhua, director of the school of communication studies under Fujian Normal University, was quoted by the report.
This means the public's right to information has been trampled because reporters are representing the public in doing their interviews, she said.
The new laws stipulate that reporters should not write false reports, nor conduct business operations such as advertising and distributing for newspapers.
China Daily - Xinhua