State press faces shake-up
( 2003-08-05 07:17) (China Daily)
Party and government-run newspapers and magazines will be forced to commercialize or face closure under major reforms.
According to detailed rules issued by the State Press and Publication Administration recently, some papers will be closed down, annexed or transferred to other newspaper groups, while others will become free information circulars.
Yu Guoming, a scholar with Renmin University of China, was quoted by Caijing Magazine as saying the decision to turn newspapers and magazines into businesses means the law will recognize capital invested in the media.
As a result of the planned economy, a number of newspapers and magazines run by party branches and government departments are financially supported by administrative orders that increase their circulation.
"These newspapers and magazines have proven burdensome for people who subscribe only because of administrative orders, and fostered corruption, too,'' said Tang Xujun, a scholar in press with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
If less than half of the readers of a newspaper or magazine pay for the publication out of their own pocket, it will face closure next year.
"This standard helps us to judge whether the newspaper or magazine has the ability to survive in the market,'' said Tang, who researched newspaper groups' operation and management.
As the state administration takes control over newspapers and magazines in China, clearing out unprofitable publications will make way for those with more vitality, he said.
State administration statistics show there were 2,137 newspapers in China last year, but newspapers relying on administrative orders for subscribers accounted for 40 per cent of the total, said Tang.
"The implementation of the detailed rules may affect at least 200 newspapers and magazines,'' he said.
Hunan Province in Central China has already drafted a plan for 56 newspapers and magazines considered unprofitable.
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