China / Hot Issues

China revokes blackmail newspaper license

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-09 23:35

BEIJING - Chinese authority has revoked the license of a newspaper for its involvement in blackmail.

China has 258,000 licensed news reporters and most are qualified journalists, Wu Shulin, deputy director of the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said on Wednesday. However, problems such as lack of professional ethics and legal awareness as well as for-profit news among a handful of journalists also exist.

China last month announced a nationwide campaign against fake news journalists or newspapers extorting money in return for stories.

In a recent case, several journalists extorted of money in exchange for promotion stories, published fake reports with serious distortions, blackmailed and sought illegal profits during interviews, the press watchdog said in a statement.

A newspaper office applied for press cards with counterfeit personal documents for unqualified people and demanded 200,000 yuan (32,525 U.S. dollars) every year in return, the statement said. The administration has revoked the licenses of both the newspaper and its journalists. Some of the journalists involved have been blacklisted and one handed over to judicial authorities for suspected crimes, the statement said.

Using journalism as blackmail is "toxic" to the media sector and smears the reputation of the media supervisors, undermines the authority and public trust in the media, Wu said.

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