China shutters 31 unlicensed news sites

China shutters 31 unlicensed news sites

Summary: Regulator closes news sites for running without permits, conducting interviews in the names of legitimate news agencies and editing false information for blackmail.

China shutters 31 unlicensed news sites.

China has shut down 31 news Web sites for operating without permits, conducting interviews in the name of news organizations and editing false information for blackmail and extortion.

According to China Daily on Thursday, the State Internet Information Office said in a statement these unlicensed sites disrupted order in the dissemination of online news information, undermined the reputation of licensed Internet news organizations and damaged the legal rights of individuals and legal entities.

One of the Web sites include Ren Min Nei Can Wang, an unlicensed site specializing in publishing false information and blackmailing companies and individuals by threatening to release false information about them.

A Chinese regulation on the management of Internet news information states Web sites must obtain government approval before providing such services, the report noted. The office also vowed to join forces with relevant authorities to punish violators through intensified efforts.

The clampdown on the unlicensed sites is the outcome of a two-month campaign launched by the office on May 9, 2013 to standardize the dissemination of online news. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore's content regulator Media Development Authority last month outlined a new licensing rule that online news sites with significant reader reach and report regularly on Singapore will now need individual licenses, to seek more consistency with traditional news platforms.

Topics: Censorship, Government Asia, China

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • False in China

    means true. "In Truth there is no Pravda, and in Pravda there is no Truth"
    Tony Burzio
    • not really

      often there's no truth from the gov't, and more often there's no truth either from grassroot newsmedia. but having false information running on street level is better than only having officially faked information.