Journalism has gone a long way since its beginnings and now virtually everything around us is a potential source for a story. We base our articles on Twitter posts, Facebook entries, and so on. Although this wide array of information can come in handy at times, it can also result in stories that aren’t or can’t be checked thoroughly, and the Chinese government seems to take the latter quite seriously. This is probably why the Cyberspace Administration of China decided this weekend to ban news sites from using social media as a source, according to Engadget. Well, not completely, but they can’t post any news based on information coming from social media before thoroughly checking the story.
So far, the aforementioned administration only issued a warning to news sites, but it definitely has a threatening tone, which means that it’s highly likely that there will be serious consequences if journalists continue to deliver stories that haven’t been checked and that are only based on someone’s social media profile, or posts. It’s true that these measures aim to ensure more objective news, but we have to admit that there is a quite high level of censorship hidden in these instructions also.
Of course, this is not the only way the Chinese government is planning on controlling the content that reaches their citizens. According to an older article by Engadget, the government is also working on a set of laws that would control the content posted on Chinese sites even further, and it would ban foreign new sites from publishing stories without them being checked first by the designated officials of the Chinese state. According to Chinese officials, these measures weren’t only taken in order to ensure the objectivity and reliability of new sites, they are also meant to ensure the security of the state. The fact that untrue rumors are going to be stopped by spreading through the internet, thanks to the recent regulations, the Chinese government is also trying to ensure the psychologic peace of the population. Given the fact that a great number of foreign sites, including Google and Facebook, are currently blocked in China, the population there really can’t be affected by the rumors circulating on these sites.