Beijing planned to block private capital out of its media industry. Late Friday, the Chinese officials unveiled a proposal to execute its plan to weaken the influence of private capital over an extensive range of media activities. Analysts across the country and world criticized the Chinese proposal to ban private investment in Chinese news agencies and the attempt of Beijing to control all sectors of the media.
According to a public consultation paper, private capital would not allow gathering news and distributing operations. Political journalists and analysts who worked for Chinese media outlets say the proposals show the ongoing efforts of China to silence opposition voices. A Chinese political commentator, Wu Zuolai, noted that the Communist Party of China is trying to put all commentary and news programs under its own control.
The proposals from the Chinese government sparked discussions on online social forums in the country, including Zhihu, where users said that the regulation would lead to an additional decline of media freedom. China already ranked poorly globally for media freedom and ranked 177th out of one hundred and eighty countries, where one is the freest, o the yearly index by Reporters Without Borders.
RSF says that China has state- and privately-owned media agencies under ever-restricted control, while the government creates more and more problems and difficulties for foreign reporters.
The public sector mainly funds the traditional media of China, such as newspapers, those working in online news agencies depend mainly on foreign or private investment. At present, government funding has been the major source of income for media agencies since the 1990s, said Cheng Yizhong. Yizhong runs a New York-based news website for the Chinese movement in the United States.
He previously worked for the Southern Metropolis Daily and the Beijing News. Unlike other nations, the Chinese media must seek state approval to publish any content. All media in China – Television Channels, radio stations, books – must obtain a special approval batch number from the government before they can publish, broadcast, or distribute anything.
According to a report from the administrative China Internet Network Information Center released this year, as of December 2020, China had seven hundred and forty-three million online news consumers. Cheng said that there was no public investment in the initial days of the internet. That was completely new, and the government did not know what was going on. He added that the digital media business is almost totally dependent on foreign and private capital.
Tighten Controls of Media Investment
On Wednesday, the Chinese internet regulators released a list of about thirteen hundred online news services that are the only recommended source for reporting news. Moreover, the list includes more social media accounts and news outlets than it did in 2016, but the regulator warned that news agencies who wander from the approved list would face penalties. Likewise, it publishes directions telling media agencies to cover certain events.