Caixin
Sep 24, 2014 07:42 PM

Pilot to Form Media Ethics Committees Reportedly Expanded

(Beijing) – A Communist Party pilot program to form ethics committees supervising media outlets and reporters is expanding to more parts of the country, multiple news reports say.

The pilot was launched by the party's publicity department last year in Hebei, Zhejiang, Shandong, Hubei and Shanghai. Another nine other regions have formed the committees this year, the reports say. Jiangxi Province is supposed to form one this year, but so far has not.

On September 16, the capital announced it was forming a media ethics committee as part of the pilot. That body will reportedly be led by Mei Ninghua, the former head of Beijing Daily.

The committees are usually made up of 10 to 20 members from the media and other industries. They are often headed by the leaders of local publicity departments or senior officials at journalist associations.

The bodies are supervised by publicity departments at the provincial level, and are responsible for inspecting the behavior of all local media outlets and their reporters.

The China Journalists Association said the committees can start inspections and receive tip-offs from the public about misbehavior by news organizations. The bodies can then coordinate with regulators on investigations.

Scandals involving reporters and editors committing extortion and taking bribes have come to light recently. A recent case involved the well-known business news site 21cbh.com, which is operated by the 21st Century News Group. The website was accused of blackmailing more than 100 companies ahead of their initial public offerings or other major events.

The chief and deputy chief editors of 21cbh.com were arrested.

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