China Forcing Online Media to Obtain Licenses

China may be giving North Korea a run for its money when it comes to media censorship. The Communist nation just announced that companies that publish, share or edit news will require a license to do so. And senior editors must be approved by the authorities. Moreover, other staff would be required to undergo training and take assessments – approved by government officials, of course.

These companies will have to follow rules and “information security protocols”, including “emergency response” and vetting following disasters, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

Going into effect June 1, these regulations are meant to bring online media in line with traditional news outlets.

Those subject to the new rules include websites, applications, forums, blogs, microblogs, public accounts, instant messaging tools and internet broadcasts,” according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The organization says these measures would “strengthen management of information” and “promote the healthy and orderly development of internet news, in accordance to law.”

Those who don’t pass the government’s jumping jacks and aren’t awarded with a license will not be allowed to post news or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, or “other areas of public interest.”

This marks the latest in a long-running effort by Beijing to be head gate keeper of the information traveling into and outside its borders.

In recent years, CAC has been focused on tightening online media regulation with a razor sharp focus on live streaming and video blogging, both becoming increasingly popular.

In July 2016, it fined various news outlets for sharing independent news stories.

But those granted these prized licenses are instructed to do their best to keep them. Failure to follow these rules would result in fines of up to $4,350 and license termination.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.