Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CAC Announces Rules to Regulate the Content of News Headlines

On January 13, 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China published a notice on its website entitled “CAC Deepens Its Rectification of the ‘Headline Party’ Problem” (国家网信办深入整治“标题党”问题). Some excerpts:
In order to further purify the online public opinion environment and to attack the chaos of altering headlines, distorting the original meaning of news and other behaviors of the "headline party," the CAC in coordination with relevant agencies recently launched a one month rectification campaign and imposed sanctions on five websites with outstanding problems: Sina, Sohu, Netease, Phoenix, and Focus, and formulated specific rules for Internet news headlines.
. . . .
In order to strengthen long-term controls over the "Headline Party" problem, the CAC formulated and promulgated the "(Interim) Rules on the Administration of Internet News Headline Norms" (hereinafter the "Rules") which clearly require all websites to maintain a correct public opinion orientation that runs through all aspects of Internet news collecting, drafting, editing, and publishing. When reporting on all kind of significant news, but especially news that touches upon important political current events and major public disturbances, they must ensure that the content of all headlines transmits a position, standpoint, and attitude with a correct orientation, scrupulously abide by journalistic ethics, and strictly prohibit malicious distorted headlines that stir up trouble or deliberately create public opinion "hotspots."
. . . .
It is strictly prohibited to use "Breaking Online," "Spreading Online," or other indeterminate vocabulary in headlines for compiled reports or to describe the essential elements of news. It is strictly prohibited to employ any "Headline Party" techniques such as using content that is exaggerated, outrageous, or unconventional.
. . . .
In order to make it convenient for Internet users to participate in overseeing and reporting, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center has established an official website specifically for reporting websites with "Headline Party" problems (www.12377.cn), and at the same time has demanded that the six major commercial websites Sina, Sohu, Netease, Tencent, Baidu, and Phoenix establish clearly visible reporting links on their home pages and arrange for personnel to accept Internet user reports 24 hours a day. 
为进一步净化网络舆论环境,打击乱改标题、歪曲新闻原意等“标题党”行为,国家网信办联合相关部门日前开展了为期1个月的专项整治行动,依法处罚了新浪、搜狐、网易、凤凰、焦点等存在突出问题的5家网站,并对互联网新闻信息标题制作制定了专门规范。
. . . .
为了加强“标题党”问题的长效治理,国家网信办还制定印发了《互联网新闻信息标题规范管理规定(暂行)》(以下简称《规定》),明确要求各网站把坚持正确舆论导向贯穿互联网新闻采集、撰写、编排、发布等各个环节。在报道各类新闻,尤其是涉及重大时政新闻和重大突发事件等重要信息时,要通过标题内容传达正确的立场、观点、态度,确保导向正确,恪守新闻伦理,严禁恶意篡改标题炒作或蓄意制造舆论“热点”。
. . . .
严禁在标题中使用“网曝”“网传”等不确定性词汇组织报道或者表述新闻基本要素。严禁各类夸张、猎奇、不合常理的内容表现手法等“标题党”行为。
. . . .
为了发动更多网民参与监督举报,国家网信办违法和不良信息举报中心还在官方网站建立了网站“标题党”问题举报专区(www.12377.cn),同时要求新浪、搜狐、网易、腾讯、百度、凤凰等6家主要商业网站在其首页显著位置设置举报链接入口,安排专人24小时受理网民举报。

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

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