China Warns Journos Who Take Bribes, Make Up Stories, or Commit Crimes

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(AP) China has warned journalists that they will be banned from reporting for at least five years if they are found taking bribes, making up stories, or are convicted of crimes.

A regulation issued by the Communist Party’s publicity department and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television says that journalists face “severe penalties” for corruption and false reporting, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a report late Tuesday.

Those found to have taken bribes in return for false reporting will have their press cards taken away and will be banned from working for five years, it said. Those convicted of a criminal offense will be banned for life.

The regulation follows a scandal last year involving 11 Xinhua journalists who allegedly took bribes in return for underreporting the casualty figures in a mine blast in central Shanxi province, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

The notice also warns news industry employees “not to get involved in advertisement deals” and prohibits them from having sideline businesses or concurrent jobs at more than one press organization, Xinhua said, though no penalties were mentioned.

Xinhua said China has about 150,000 journalists, with about 90,000 working in print media such as newspapers and newswires and some 60,000 in radio and television broadcasting.

Officials with the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television referred media queries to the Communist Party’s publicity department, which declined to confirm the details of the new regulation.

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