Chinese Journalism Development Report
All-China Journalists Association
Chapter 1 Overview of Chinese Journalism
Chapter 2 Public Management System
Chapter 3 Development of Traditional Media
Chapter 4 Development of New Media
Chapter 5 Integrated Development of the Media
Chapter 6 Staff Composition and Protection of Their Rights and Interests
Chapter 7 Cultivation of Professional Ethics
Chapter 8 International Exchanges and Cooperation
Chapter 1 Overview of Chinese Journalism
The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government both attach great importance to journalism, rendering full support to its development. The industry organizations endeavor to build the ranks of journalists and improve their professional ability and competence. News media are forging ahead to make progress, with their comprehensive strength constantly improving. Currently, the development of Chinese journalism is taking on the following features:
1. The public management system is gradually improving and the environment for journalism development is becoming more and more open. A media management and service system with a good combination of laws and regulations, administrative management, industry discipline and social supervision has gradually taken shape. There is more news transparency and instant coverage. Foreign journalists are enjoying more convenience in news reporting in China.
2. The comprehensive strength of the media is rapidly increasing, and its transmission, credibility and influence are constantly improving. China has become one of the world’s largest newspaper producers, its radio and TV industry is accelerating its transformation, and media credibility and influence are improving. Xinhua News Agency is building itself into a competitive omni-media outlet with global coverage. New media are becoming the most dynamic media form with the biggest influence and potential in China.
3. Reform of the traditional media is deepening, and efforts to bring about integrated development are being renewed. The integrated development of traditional and new media has become a national strategy. On August 18, 2014 the Guidelines on Promoting the Integrated Development of Traditional and New Media, deliberated and approved at the fourth meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening the Reform gave strong impetus and directions for the integrated development of traditional and new media.
4. Unremitting improvement of the building of the ranks of journalists and exploration of a long-term mechanism to enhance professional ethics. China’s press circles are carrying out a campaign of “going to the grassroots to report news, and changing working and writing style” with remarkable achievements, receiving wide acclaim inside and outside the industry. Special operations aimed to crack down on blackmail journalism and fake news are being carried out to purify the environment for journalism. A pilot program to form journalistic ethics committees is being steadily implemented, and a social responsibility report system for the media is gradually being set up.
Chapter 2 Public Management System
The Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Information Office support journalism work in accordance with the law, and provide corresponding information service and guidance. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is responsible for the administration of the press, publication, radio, film and television. The State Internet Information Office is responsible for the supervision and management of national Internet information service. The All-China Journalists Association formulates and maintains industry standards. In news units, the president or editor-in-chief is responsible for the overall operation. Systems of post responsibility and employment with certificates are practiced. Within a legal framework, the Chinese media enjoy professional rights, fulfill legal obligations, shoulder social responsibilities and enjoy full freedom of the press in accordance with the law. Major practices in media management and services are:
1. Adhering to management in accordance with the law. The state’s laws, as the standards of conduct for Chinese journalism, must be observed by media staff. China has set up a relatively complete legal system, part of which has provisions on media work. There are also special laws and regulations concerning the press and publications, radio and TV and the Internet. These laws and regulations both regulate the professional behavior of the media and journalists, and protect their legitimate rights and interests. For example, the Regulations on Publications Administration, Regulations on Broadcasting and TV Administration, Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, Administrative Measures on Internet News Information Services, Administrative Provisions on Newspaper Publication, Administrative Provisions on Journalists’ Permits, and Administrative Provisions on Newspaper Offices formulated by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television and State Internet Information Office. The Regulations on Disclosure of Government Information promulgated in 2008 guarantees that citizens and other legal persons acquire government information in accordance with the law. The Provisions on News Coverage by Permanent Offices of Foreign Media Organizations and Foreign Journalists institutionalizes the major principles and spirit of the Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period, providing convenience for foreign media and journalists in their reporting in China. These provisions are quite different from the ones released in 1990. For example, foreign journalists now need not be accompanied by representatives of domestic units to report in permitted areas, or apply to a local foreign affairs department for permission.
2. Strengthening self-discipline within the industry. Media workers should observe the basic principles of journalism, strengthen self-discipline and abide by professional ethics. China has a complete organization management and service system for journalism including the All-China Journalists Association, local journalists associations and Society of Professional Journalists to exercise self-discipline in the industry. Self-discipline norms such as the Code of Professional Ethics for Chinese Media Workers, Self-discipline Convention for China’s Internet Industry, and Self-discipline Convention for Mobile Phone Media have been formulated to regulate the operations of media workers in different fields.
3. Strengthening the release of authoritative information. China has established the principle of releasing emergency information in a timely, accurate, open and transparent manner, and improved the relevant systems and rules. In case of public emergencies, the related local governments and departments should release authoritative information in a timely manner, allow domestic and foreign reporters make spot coverage and hold accountable those who lie about, conceal, delay or under-report important information. In case of important activities and emergencies, related local governments and departments should hold press conferences, accept interviews and release authoritative information as soon as possible. Within one month after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, for example, the State Council Information Office, together with over 20 departments and agencies, held 25 press conferences, and the Sichuan Government Information Office held 24 press conferences to release ample updated information.
4. Improving services for the media. China is working to provide a variety of information services for domestic and foreign media. Press centers were set up during the CPC national congresses, NPC and CPPCC annual sessions, Beijing Olympic Games, Shanghai World Expo and Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, to provide news leads to domestic and foreign journalists, help them contact interviewees, prepare necessary working equipment, and facilitate the life and work of journalists. The press center for the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC hosted over 2,700 journalists, among whom over 1,700 were foreign, offering public radio and television channels and news photos for free, arranging shuttle buses from their residences to the Great Hall of the People and organizing interviews for them in neighboring areas of Beijing. The All-China Journalists Association holds salons regularly, at which experts, scholars and officials are invited to communicate with domestic and foreign journalists on international issues and China-related topics, and offer update and accurate information.
5. Supporting media in exercising supervision by public opinion. Journalists have rights and obligations concerning the exercise of supervision by public opinion. The CPC and the Chinese government support the media in exercising supervision “in accordance with the law and in a scientific and constructive way,” asking Party committees and governments at different levels to treat the media with respect, use it wisely and manage it well, supporting them in reporting, correctly facing supervision by public opinion and improving their ability to communicate with the media. Since its inception in 1994, the program Topics in Focus on CCTV has brought up and urged the solution to many problems existing in social development and the country’s transition period by reporting issues of common concern based on facts, attracting wide attention and loyalty from the audience over the years. Many newspapers, news websites, radio and television stations have devoted their columns or programs to Name and Shame lists to address the people’s concerns and help them solve problems, to produce positive energy and promote social progress.
Chapter 3 Development of Traditional Media
China’s newspaper industry is accelerating its system reform and mechanism innovation, constantly promoting its development and strengthening public cultural services, making considerable headway and historical changes in the areas of development, reform and management.
1. China is a large producer of newspapers. According to the Basic Information of National Press and Publications in 2013 released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in August 2014, the Chinese mainland published a total of 1,915 newspapers with a print run of 48.24 billion copies, 209.78 billion sheets and 44.036 billion yuan in total price. In 2013 the operation revenue from newspaper publication was 77.67 billion yuan and the total profit stood at 8.77 billion yuan.
2. There is a great variety of newspapers with a relatively rational structure. With macro-control and comprehensive regulation enacted in recent years, the structure of Chinese newspaper publication has been optimized and its composition more rational, forming a pattern with Party newspapers as the leader and newspapers for local news, life services, certain industries, specific target readership, and digests developing side by side, catering to the reading habits of readers of different levels. Among the current 1,915 types of newspapers, over 400 are Party newspapers, taking up 20% of the total; about 300 are newspapers for local news, 15% of the total, over 700 are newspapers for certain industries and specific target readership, about 40% of the total; and over 200 are newspapers concerned with life services, about 12% of the total.
3. China’s daily newspaper publishing business has topped the world for years, which has made China the market with the largest newspaper circulation in the world. In the past ten years, among the 100 most widely circulated newspapers recognized by WAN-IFRA, over 20, one fourth of them, have been from the Chinese mainland. According to statistics released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in August 2014, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CPC Central Committee, boasted an average circulation of 3,143,200 each issue in 2013, and Reference News 2,884,700.
4. The business operation of newspapers is undergoing diversified development, as new economic growth points constantly emerge. An operation pattern giving priority to advertising and circulation, with exhibitions, training, industry consultancy and tailored information complementary with each other, is taking shape. Some newspapers have set up branch companies, seeking financing by listing them on the stock market, thus creating new channels for media financing.
5. Stepping up efforts to build more vibrant and competitive newspaper groups. The economic scale of the following ten press groups ranks top — Chengdu Daily Press Group, Zhejiang Daily Press Group, Shandong Dazhong News Group, Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group, Jiefang Daily Group, Shanghai United Media Group, Henan Daily Press Group, Nanfang Daily Press Group, Hubei Daily Media Group, and Sichuan Daily Press Group.
6. Actively promoting the transformation of newspaper publishing companies into enterprises. The Chinese government is encouraging non-political newspaper publishing companies to change from public institutions into enterprises. Of the first batch of 3,388 such companies on the list, 3,271 have completed this transformation. China is also encouraging transformed publishing and media enterprises meeting the listing requirements to go public as soon as possible. Among the mainland-listed enterprises, 12 companies engage in book, newspaper and periodical publishing. They are Jiangsu Phoenix Publishing & Media Co. Ltd, China South Publishing & Media Group Co. Ltd, Zhejiang Daily Media Group Co. Ltd, Huawen Media Investment Corporation, Chinese Universe Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Chengdu B-ray Media Co. Ltd, Changjiang Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Time Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Guangdong China Sunshine Media Co. Ltd, Central China Land Media Co. Ltd, Northern United Publishing & Media (Group) Company Limited and Beijing CCID Media Investment Co., Ltd.
7. Meeting the public reading requirements. A total of 18 billion yuan nationwide has been invested in building over 600,000 village libraries, each of which offers free services for readers in rural and ethnic-minority areas with a variety of books, newspapers and periodicals.
Radio and TV industry
The radio and TV industry is accelerating its transformation and upgrading, scoring remarkable achievements.
1. The influence and credibility of reports from radio and television are increasing significantly. In 2013 the televiewers’ attention rate for news programs registered 74.77%, an increase of 8.59% over 2012, which was the first time news programs surpassed TV dramas for TV audiences. During the sessions of the NPC and CPPCC in 2013 the audience share of the CCTV news channel stood at 3.07%, a 65% increase over 2012. Reports series like The Most Beautiful Minds, Attention to This and Chinese Dream innovated and enriched the experience and theory of reporting by telling the appealing, inspiring stories of common yet respectable people. In 2013 over 30,000 public service ads were aired by radio and TV stations, and broadcast about 10 million times, totaling six million minutes. Some of these ads invoke emotions by using real-life narratives, helping to spread positive energy.
2. Major breakthroughs are made in program innovation and improvement. In 2013, the total radio program production was 7,391,200 hours, a year-on-year growth of 2.82%, smaller than the previous year; TV program production was 3,397,800 hours, a year-on-year decrease of 1.12%. But the quality and originality of the programs increased markedly, public service, cultural and original programs are becoming the trend. Radio and TV programs are focusing more on quality and benefits rather than quantity and scale. Quality cultural programs of various types such as Chinese Characters Dictation Competition, Idioms Quiz Show and Super Speaker are emerging. A group of blockbuster variety shows such as The Voice of China, I Am a Singer and Song of China are enjoying soaring popularity, winning the hearts of the audience with quality production, and also improving the overall level of variety shows and their brand effect. The initial market for Chinese TV program formats is taking shape, and some original Chinese TV programs are selling to the Western market and starting to make their way into the list of the best global TV programs, becoming a new force in spreading Chinese culture globally. Radio and TV stations at all levels nationwide are allocating special funds for program research and development departments to institutionalize and normalize innovations and improvements in program production.
3. Modern radio and TV transmission upgrading is speeding up. From 2013 the national radio and TV transmission network has been becoming more digital, Internet-based, interactive and integrated, capable of covering both the center and localities, rural and urban areas and domestic and foreign areas with wireless, cable, satellite and Internet technologies. By the end of 2013 the coverage rate of radio and TV expanded to 97.79% and 98.42% of the population, respectively, with year-on-year growths of 0.28% and 0.22%, respectively. By the end of 2013 there were altogether 153 radio stations, 166 TV stations, 42 educational TV stations and 2,207 radio and TV stations (including 1,996 at county level). These stations produced a total of 4,199 sets of programs, including 2,863 radio programs (excluding CRI’s overseas broadcasting in 65 languages) and 1,336 TV programs.
4. The digital level of radio, film and television is being markedly improved. By the end of 2013 Chinese cable TV subscribers added up to 229 million, with a coverage rate of 54.14%; digital TV subscribers 172 million, taking up 74.95% of cable TV subscribers; and paid-TV subscribers 34,984,100, accounting for 20.39% of the digital TV subscribers. Some 95 million households had access to two-way interactive service, among them over 24.57 million households subscribed to such service. High-definition TV and 3D TV have become standard equipment for digital TV subscribers, and the digitalization of terrestrial television is accelerating, with over 300 cities having completed the launching and receiving of signals. Satellite TV service has been digitalized, providing satellite signal services to13.1 million and 19.09 million rural households via projects of “ensuring direct-broadcast satellite signals reach every household” and “ensuring radio and TV signals reach every village,” respectively. New progress has been made in the digitalization of radio and television programs, for example, programs of CNR, CCTV and CRI have all been digitalized, and the digitalization rate of programs of radio and television stations at the provincial, prefectural and county levels exceeds 90%, 70% and 50%, respectively. Television stations at various levels are making great efforts to promote high-definition program production, and by the end of 2013 TV stations at central, provincial and prefectural levels were authorized to open 50 high-definition (HD) TV channels, among which 44 are SD-HD simulcasting channels, two are HD unlocked channels and four are paid HD channels, increasing the coverage of HD programs nationwide. Film high-tech application is in full swing, which makes China a leader in film digitalization. Film projection in rural areas is all digitalized, urban cinemas have basically digitalized film shows, and the satellite transmission system building in this aspect is accelerating.
5. Public services for radio, film and television are speeding up their upgrading, and the overall level of national public services for radio, film and television is improving. In 2013 public service projects such as “ensuring radio and television signals reach every village,” “ensuring directbroadcast satellite signals reach every household,” “showing films in rural areas for free,” and “building digital cinemas in county-level cities” are being steadily advanced. Projects to ensure that every village has access to radio and television signals have been completed in 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and projects to ensure direct-broadcast satellite signals reach every household have been basically completed in eight provinces and autonomous regions. China is in a critical period for ensuring that radio and television signals are sent to every rural household rather than every village, improving its services and upgrading its service network. In addition to these efforts, some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, based on their local needs, are implementing projects such as “covering each village with radio signals,” “ensuring offshore fishing boats receive radio and television signals” and “subsidizing poor households to have access to radio and TV signals” so as to make such services cover all households. The national rural film projection project is reaching a new stage along with the adoption of the urbanization strategy, and in many places film projection is changing from mobile to fixed points, from outdoors to indoors and from targeting rural residents to targeting migrant workers as well as rural residents.
6. Revenues from the radio and television industry are shrinking and entering a critical period of transformation and quality upgrading. In 2013 the revenue from the radio and television industry totaled 373,488,000,000 yuan and generated of 324,277,000,000 yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 15.67%. The advertisement revenue takes the lead in all channels of radio and TV revenue, reaching 138,701,000,000 yuan in 2013, up 9.19% over the previous year. Revenue from the cable network was 75,491,000,000 yuan, a year-on-year increase of 14.21%. The average revenue per user (ARPU) was 27.5 yuan per month, an increase of 7.3% over the previous year, and up 4.7% excluding CPI.
China has two news agencies: Xinhua News Agency and China News Service (CNS).
Xinhua News Agency, or Xinhua, is the state news agency of China as well as a global news and information network, and an omni-media news and information service provider. It has 32 branches in all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities except in Taiwan Province, where it has posted resident correspondents. It also has bureaus in major cities, and bureaus for the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese Armed Police Force, and over 180 bureaus overseas, having built itself into a relatively complete news and information collection network covering the globe. As a multi-functional agency, Xinhua delivers around the clock its news and economic information across the world in eight languages — Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Japanese, in the forms of texts, photos, graphics, audio and video communications, and Internet and cell phone delivery.
Over the past few years, Xinhua has been comprehensively advancing its strategic transformation — from producing traditional news products to modern multimedia news products, from targeting media subscribers to reader subscribers, from providing news at home to distributing information worldwide, to set up an omni-media agency integrating news release, newspaper and magazine publication, TV news programs, Internet service, financial news release, new media service and multimedia database service. It is a public institution with five branch companies and some subsidiary companies and newspapers and periodicals operating by market rules. It is gaining increasing recognition and influence in the international media field, and striving to become a modern national news agency with Chinese characteristics and a first-class international omni-media organization.
China News Service (CNS) is a state-level news agency spreading news worldwide, and an international news agency with subscribers in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as overseas Chinese and foreigners. It has 49 branches in China and abroad, and has news release centers in Beijing, New York and Hong Kong. Based on a multi-channel, multi-level and multi-function news release system, CNS provides all kinds of news and information in the forms of texts, photos, videos, Internet and cell phone delivery, 24 hours a day.
Chapter 4 Development of New Media
In China, the Internet is widely used in fields such as news transmission, e-governance, e-commerce and public services. The communication capability of the Internet is increasing, making it an important channel to access news and know about the world.
Emerging after traditional media such as newspapers and periodicals, news agencies, radio and television, new media spreads information via the Internet. As an outcome of improving communication technology, new media, by efficiently integrating communication carriers such as text, pictures, sound and images, is making itself into a new milestone in media development with its tremendous information load capacity and advantages in digital technology, transmission ability across time and space, convenience in copy and retrieval, and interactivity. It has become the most active and influential media with the greatest development potential in China.
Development history of China’s new media
Since China’s formal access to the Internet in April 1994, China’s new media have experienced the phases of inception, high-speed development and stable growth. In January 1995 China Scholars Abroad witnessed the beginning of the digitalization of Chinese periodicals. In December 1996 CCTV programs were put online, which marked the launching of Chinese broadcasting media online. The year 1997 witnessed some state-level media such as People’s Daily, and Xinhua News Agency begin to build their websites to promote news transmission online, and the establishing of commercial websites such as netease.com, srsnet.com (predecessor of sina.com) and sohu.com. Since 1999 the number of Chinese netizens has been increasing rapidly, and commercial websites have been listed overseas, which further fanned the Chinese people’s enthusiasm for China’s new media. Entering the 21st century, with further and sweeping use of the Internet, information transmission is becoming more diversified, and the development of new media is becoming more standardized, with its role of news transmission more prominent. In July 2004 the multimedia message of the first mobile news — China Women’s News — came out. Since 2007 China’s new media have gradually formed their own pattern — their subscribers have been increasing in number; reading news online and posting comments has become popular; and forums, blogs and microblogs are booming. In the past two years mobile news apps have come to the fore and become the choice for subscribers to access news from the Internet. The Research Report for the 2013 China Mobile Phone News Apps Market released by Iimedia Research on March 3, 2014 showed that by the end of 2013 China’s news app subscribers totaled 344 million, with a penetration rate of 60.4% among mobile phone users.
With 20 years of development, China’s new media, in various forms such as text message, website, web portal, news app, microblog, instant messaging and we-media writing, is becoming more professional and Internet-based in news transmission. Netizens involved, technologies applied, news release amount, social influence and industry participation have all come close to or topped the world levels, giving birth to some national new media brands with international competitiveness.
By the end of June 2014 the number of Chinese netizens added up to 632 million, among whom 527 million were mobile phone users, with an Internet penetration rate of 46.9%. More new media are turning to mobile terminals, and among all Internet-based devices, the rate of mobile phone use is 83.4%, overtaking PCs for the first time. The mobile Internet is driving the development of the whole Internet. Among all app use by Chinese netizens, news app subscribers take up about 80% with a readership of over 500 million. Popular websites such as xinhuanet.com, people.com.cn, sina.com.cn and sohu.com post over 10,000 pieces of news, and get over 100 million or even over one billion of page views every day. New media have now evolved to become an important part of Chinese journalism.
Structure of China’s new media
In China today almost all traditional media and news agencies are using their own advantages in resources and brands to promote online news transmission to meet the people’s need for information. Some comprehensive information service websites such as xinhuanet.com, people.com.cn and cntv.cn have come into being, extending the reach of authoritative news and information as well as widening the space for development of traditional media. According to statistics from IResearch, from June 30 to July 6, 2014 the daily visitors to news websites totaled 44,738,000, and the time spent on web pages was 22.05 million hours. People.com.cn, an online news platform of People’s Daily has been listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and become the first news website listed on China’s A share market and the first media enterprise wholly listed on the A share market.
The new Internet apps and services such as social networking services are popular and in full swing, instilling vigor into the development of China’s new media. Microblog and Wechat are the most widely used and influential new media applications, meeting users’ reading requirements in a mobile, convenient and timely manner. By the end of June 2014 there were 275 million microblog users, and 1.2 billion microblog accounts in China, with the use rate reaching 43.6%, among whom 189 million were mobile phone users, with the use rate reaching 35.8%. By the end of July 2014 mobile instant messaging user accounts exceeded one billion, with Wechat user accounts over 800 million and the latest monthly active users surpassing 438 million, and covering over 200 countries and regions. Wechat has over 20 language versions. The Wechat platform has over 5.8 million public accounts.
China’s new media are rapidly integrating with mobile devices and social media. They have given birth to micro-governance, micro film and micro video, which constitute the new micro-age phenomenon in China’s Internet development. With the development of the mobile Internet, news websites have successively launched terminal-friendly apps such as mobile news and mobile TV, forming an omni-media transmission pattern. Mobile news apps are becoming new platforms for the public to access news.
Overall situation and appraisal of China’s new media
Over the past few years China has been enhancing the strength of new media. With the rapid popularization of new media worldwide and their uneven development trend, China’s new media are taking on their own national characteristics in development mode and cultural traits. Technology innovation, big data and cloud computing are widely applied in new media.
Diversified new media forms are becoming attractive news and information sources for netizens, with ample contents and applications. Each netizen is an information receiver, and also a poster and disseminator. Photos or microblogs posted by netizens may be the sources of hot news. Internet technologies are making new media reports more fascinating, and the popularization of wearable devices will facilitate netizens’ use of new media.
Boasting unique advantages in satisfying the people’s demand for information, new media are also becoming an important force for carrying forward mainstream values, boosting economic development and bringing about social harmony.
New media are an important engine promoting economic structural adjustment and transforming the economic development mode. New media-related industries have been listed as new strategic industries in China’s low carbon economy initiatives. According to the 2014 Report on the Development of China’s Media Industry, in 2013 China’s media industry was worth 890.24 billion yuan, an increase of 16.2% over the previous year, and the contribution rate of the mobile Internet to the media industry was 30.3%.
New media is serving as a new bridge and bond for communication between the Chinese government and its people. Over the past few years, the Chinese government has committed itself to building service-oriented government through new media, and the central and local governments are encouraged to set up government websites and open microblog accounts. Verified government accounts on people.com.cn, xinhuanet.com, sina.com.cn and qq.com add up to 258,737, and such accounts on Wechat exceed 6,000. Online politics and supervision are changing China’s political landscape. Innovative political endeavors such as the new institutions of web spokesman and online press conference are emerging. More and more people are expressing views and suggestions on government work via new media to participate in the management of public affairs.
New media actively uses its strength to gather positive energy and realize the Chinese Dream. Over the past few years, “The Most Beautiful Mother” and “The Most Beautiful Teacher” have been publicized via new media, stirring up a strong wave of positive energy throughout society. During the Spring Festival in 2014, several websites jointly initiated a charity activity of “offering you a free ride home,” benefiting about 100,000 people.
New media are bringing significant changes to Chinese people’s work, study and life, ensuring easy access to information about medical care, education, leisure and entertainment, and business, and changing both interpersonal relationships and the relationship between the individual and society. More and more people start their businesses via the Internet to realize their own dreams.
Laws and regulations, basic policies and practice concerning China’s new media
In the largest developing country in the world, China’s new media is thriving and has achieved noteworthy progress.
Like most countries, including developed ones, China manages new media in accordance with the law. The relevant Chinese laws are open and transparent, to maintain the order of online information transmission, safeguard online information security and promote the prosperous development of new media. Since 1994 China has promulgated a series of laws and regulations, and department rules concerning norms governing information transmission, including the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Preserving Internet Security, Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Strengthening Network Information Protection, Regulations on Telecommunications, Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, Administrative Measures on Internet News Information Services, Administrative Provisions for the Internet Audio-Video Program Services, Provisions Regulating Internet Information Services, and Provisions on Protecting the Personal Information of Telecommunications and Internet Users, to put the management, application and service of new media within a legal framework. In accordance with these laws and regulations, China protects freedom of speech online and Internet intellectual property, and prohibits the spreading of illegal information and engaging in illegal and criminal activities via the Internet.
The Chinese government encourages and supports the development of online journalism, having formulated preferential policies and invested a great deal of capital into new media infrastructure construction, introducing and studying new media technologies, committing itself to creating a healthy and well-organized environment for new media development, and building a more open, secure, and dependable new media to better meet users’ demands. China’s new media industry is expanding, and news apps, BBS platforms, blogs, social networking services and video sharing apps are rapidly developing to meet the people’s need for news and information, posting comments and communication. Netizens are actively involved in spreading online information and content creation, greatly enriching the online information contents. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the watchdog role of new media, urging governments at all levels to investigate and solve problems reported on the Internet and release their findings. At present, over 97% of the central government departments, all governments at provincial level and over 98% governments at prefectural level have set up portal websites to facilitate communication with the public and provide better service for the people.
China’s online information freedom and security
New media ensures the citizens more channels to exercise their rights to know, to participate, to express and to supervise — they can make comments and air opinions in various ways online. Online communication and interaction have become distinctive features of new media development. The number of news comments, BBS posts and blog articles is enormous. The websites offer services for netizens to make comments, and over 80% of them have BBS platforms. By the end of June 2014 there were millions of forums, 444 million bloggers and personal webpage users, and 275 million microblog users. According to statistics from the ten most influential websites, daily BBS posts and news comments top three million.
Though the new media facilitate people’s communication and interaction, the emergence of fake news, pornography and privacy leaks harms the Internet order and the interests of society. In order to fully release the bonus of the free flow of information, the hidden dangers to information security must be eliminated, which has become the common consensus of all sectors of society. Equal attention should be given to both the free and safe flow of information. If Internet security cannot be secured, information flow will be disrupted and the sound development and effective use of new media will be hard to realize. China supports the principle of the free and safe flow of information via new media, and safeguards the basic rights of citizens to freedom of speech, which is at an unprecedented level now, greatly promoting political culture and social progress. In exercising their freedom and rights, citizens should also fulfill their legal obligations to avoid damaging the national and social interests, as well as the legitimate interests and rights of other citizens.
The Chinese government has always emphasized the safeguarding of Internet security to create a sound environment for new media development. It strengthens its management of new media in accordance with the law and in a scientific way, to bring about a sound environment for Internet information transmission under the supervision of laws, industry and society, containing, blocking and clearing away harmful and illegal information in accordance with the law. In recent years, the Chinese government has launched campaigns to clean up the Internet to crack down on online porn, IPR infringement and piracy, and purify Internet space. The Chinese government attaches importance to the security of websites, actively carrying out special campaigns to prevent the forming of and sever the cyber-hacking industry chain.
Chapter 5 Integrated Development of the Media
On August 18, 2014 the fourth meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening the Reform deliberated and approved the Guidance on Promoting the Integrated Development of Traditional and New Media (hereinafter referred to as the Guidance), making clear the requirements on how to promote the integrated development of the media as well as making corresponding arrangements. The Guidance pointed out that the integrated development of the media should follow the law governing news transmission and the development of new media, strengthen Internet-based thinking, pay equal attention to technology and content building, and promote the close integration of traditional and new media in content, channel, platform, operation and management. Efforts should be made to create a batch of new competitive, advanced mainstream media platforms in diversified forms, and to build some new and strong media groups with good transmission ability, credibility and influence, to form a modern, diversified and integrated communication system. The Guidance gives a strong impetus and clear direction for the integrated development of traditional and new media, which is significant for deepening reform in the media field.
The integrated development of traditional and new media is essential for the development of journalism. The burgeoning of new media has exerted a tremendous impact on traditional media, with more and more people acquiring information through new media, and thereby narrowing the size of users and market share of traditional media. In this context, traditional media must adapt to the changing media landscape and accelerate its efforts to integrate with new media to survive.
Currently, the integrated development of traditional and new media is running smoothly. Within eight months after the launching of the People’s Daily account on weibo.com, its followers surpassed ten million. Its app downloads exceeded five million within two months of its launching. Xinhua News Agency is also opening up new media services, building integrated service platforms to launch multiple products, such as “Xinhua News Agency Release,” and about 50 apps, such as “I Report” and “Xinhua News International,” dominating all major app stores. “Xinhua News Agency Press Room” opened on Tencent’s qq.com and xinhuanet.com, attracting over 22.6 million followers. Weibo accounts, such as “Online Reports of China” (Zhongguo Wangshi) and “Xinhua Focus” (Xinhua Shidian) have attracted over seven million and 17 million followers, respectively. Furthermore, over 100 media products for smart phones, with 230 million subscribers, have been developed. The new audio-visual media industry in China is embracing its golden age, and its integration with the traditional radio, film and TV industries is changing the audio-visual industry landscape in a fundamental way. Online radio and TV stations at different levels play a positive role in promoting the integration of online platforms and stations, and taking over new public opinion arenas. CNTV is making efforts to build a new media transmission system covering multi-screens with key products. CCTV.com has over 500 million unique visitors each month, and the Cbox app downloads exceed 330 million. CNR has developed “News from Zhongnanhai” and “CNR News” apps. Hunan TV initiated a strategy of “monopolized broadcasting” in April 2014, resulting in an increase of page view on Mangguo TV (online video platform of Hunan TV) from tens of thousands to millions. Shandong Network Radio-Television Station makes new media products to meet different needs, targeting maternal and child care and aging people, winning wide attention and support. By the end of 2013 Internet video users in China totaled 428 million, with a video use rate of 69.3%, increases of 15.2% and 3.4%, respectively, year on year, and in 2013 the size of China’s online video market reached 12.81 billion yuan, up 41.9% over the previous year.
Chapter 6 Staff Composition and Protection of Their Rights and Interests
The news units on the mainland of China employ a total workforce of approximately one million people engaged in journalism, marketing, distribution, management, administrative services and new media. Among them, 263,100 work for newspapers, 109,100 for periodicals, and over 600,000 for radio and television stations and other news units. Of the 258,000 journalists who are qualified for the official journalist certificate, about 100,000 work for newspapers, 7,000 for periodicals, 3,000 for news agencies, 145,000 for radio and television stations, 400 for newsreel studios and 700 for state news portals.
News workers holding the official journalist certificate number 26,000 at state news units and 228,000 at local news units, with at least 10,000 in each of Jiangsu, Henan, Guangdong, Shandong, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces.
The journalist workforce features a fairly balanced gender mix, with 144,087 males accounting for 55.87% and 113,791 females 44.13%. The journalists generally have a higher-education level, with 68,613 or 26.61% holding an associate degree, 169,328 or 65.66% holding a bachelor’s degree, 18,318 or 7.10% holding a master’s degree, 728 or 0.28% holding a doctor’s degree, and 881 or 0.35% with other educational background. Young and middle-aged journalists constitute the majority of the workforce, with 39,928 or 15.48% below age 30, 100,357 or 38.92% between 30 and 40, 81,734 or 31.69% between 40 and 50, and 35,859 or 13.91% above 50, exhibiting a rational age mix.
The All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) is committed to protecting the lawful rights and interests of journalists, and takes the following measures to do so:
1. Receiving complaints about infringement of rights. The ACJA has established a complaints registration system and put people in charge of receiving complaints about infringement of journalists’ rights. It offers journalists across the country a hotline number and e-mail address to file such complaints. An emergency response mechanism is ready for handling emergencies involving infringements upon the lawful rights and interests of journalists. The ACJA tackles the more severe cases and entrusts other cases to local or specialized journalists’ associations. Measures for handling the cases usually include carrying out investigation, expressing support in public, interviewing the complainants to express solicitude, demanding compensation and apology from infringers, and urging punishment of offenders in accordance with the law. The ACJA registered 30 such complaints filed by news workers in 2012, and solved 80% of them by the end of that year. It received more than 100 complaints by phone, letter or visit in 2013, and solved 90% of them by the end of that year. In the same year, Yang Qiongwen, a journalist at the newspaper Nandao Evening News of Hainan Province, who had been forced to resign over his report of a sex scandal, was eventually reinstated with the intervention of the ACJA.
2. Launching the News Worker Aid Program. To protect the lawful activities of news workers, the ACJA started preparing for the launch of the News Worker Aid Program in 2012, and consulted all departments and units concerned on the formulation of the Measures for the Implementation of the News Worker Aid Program and the Measures for Accepting Public Donations for the News Worker Aid Program. On April 20, 2013 the ACJA launched the program as an emergency response to the magnitude-7 earthquake which hit Lushan, Sichuan Province, on that day and extended a total of 70,000 yuan in aid to journalists injured in the earthquake. The Measures for the Implementation of the News Worker Aid Program was formally issued on January 3, 2014.
3. Enacting the Measures for Conferring the National Title of Excellent Journalist. The ACJA issued this document on July 19, 2013 to standardize the conferment of the title of Excellent Journalist on news workers who have rendered outstanding services. Ceremonies were held in 2013 to award the title to CCTV journalist Zhai Shuyan and Haikou Broadcasting & Television Station journalist Qiu Hangliang, who had died at their posts.
4. Preparing the Measures for Extending Emergency Assistance to Journalists Covering Major Emergencies. In 2013 the ACJA convened the Journalists’ Forum on Reporting Earthquake Rescue and Relief Work and the Seminar on Reporting the Floods in Yuyao, which focused on the discussion about the ACJA’s timely involvement in reporting major emergencies and provision of emergency assistance. The ACJA is stepping up its efforts in formulating the Measures for Extending Emergency Assistance to Journalists Covering Major Emergencies.
Chapter 7 Cultivation of Professional Ethics
Over the past few years, many measures have been adopted for regulating journalistic practices on the news front, resolving serious problems, promoting the cultivation of journalistic ethics, and endeavoring to build a lasting self-regulatory mechanism for the news industry. These measures advocate the ethics of preserving the Party spirit in journalistic work, focusing on serving the central task of economic development and the overall interests of the country, keeping in mind the professional principle of serving the people, maintaining the correct orientation of public opinion, safeguarding the truthfulness of news, improving the journalistic working and writing style, upholding the Party’s leadership in running newspapers and periodicals, radio and TV stations, and news portals, making active efforts to fulfill the social responsibility of the news media as part of the code of ethics, and exploring a lasting framework for self-regulation of the news industry. The measures are as follows:
1. Carrying out a wide range of long-term campaigns for cultivating journalistic ethics. The campaign to study the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Marxist view of news, and journalistic professionalism and ethics has been in full swing across the country since 2003. The year 2011 saw the wide implementation of the campaign to eliminate false reports, enhance the sense of social responsibility among journalists and strengthen the cultivation of journalistic ethics. In the same year, the news circles launched a nationwide campaign to encourage news media and journalists to give greater coverage to grassroots life, improve the journalistic working and writing style, and enhance the standards of journalists and news items. Since then, journalists across the country have warmly responded to this campaign, going to the plateaus, mines, rural villages, urban communities and other places with little coverage before to talk to ordinary people and reflect their views. A large number of news products covering grassroots life have been published, including CCTV’s footage filmed in the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, reporting on the hardships for children in an impoverished mountainous village getting to school and arousing high public concern about the poverty-stricken areas in China. A report on the difficulties of primary and middle school students in mountainous western China in having lunch at school drew great attention from the relevant authorities, and prompted the central and local governments to fund the Free Lunch for Children program there. With their field reports from Lishui, Taizhou, Wenzhou and many other cities and counties of Zhejiang Province, journalists writing in the Zhejiang Daily helped local farmers solve their problems, such as finding channels to sell their fruit and selecting a site for a drinking water project.
2. Intensifying efforts to address major journalistic problems. In response to strong public concern, a campaign was launched in March 2014 to crack down on those engaged in blackmail journalism and false reporting. Since then a number of media companies, illegal online public relations companies, and news workers who committed frequent acts of blackmail journalism or false reporting and caused pernicious effects on society, were investigated and dealt with, with their illegal acts disclosed to the public. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television revoked the licenses of the newspaper China’s Specialties and its journalists involved in seeking illegal profits in the course of conducting interviews. The state authorities closed the Henan office of China Economic Times for the same reason, and sentenced the chief offender to imprisonment of six years and six months.
3. Improving the code of ethics. On November 27, 2009 the ACJA issued the third amended version of the Code of Ethics for Chinese Journalists, which was first adopted in 1991. The latest version introduced the following critical amendments: first, identifying the people as the subjects of reports and the objects of journalistic services for the first time compared with previous versions; second, elaborating on the principle of “reporting mainly in positive, inspiring ways to reinforce solidarity and stability”; third, specifying the principle of truthfulness of news; and fourth, enriching the notion of developing fine traditions. The 2009 version is now the guideline of professionalism and ethics for Chinese journalists.
4. Setting up pilot committees of journalistic ethics. Journalistic ethics committees aim at intensifying the cultivation of journalistic ethics and news professionals, providing a new comprehensive platform combining the forces of law-based management, government administration, self-regulation and public supervision. They serve as effective channels for solving major problems in journalistic circles as well as a key move of the news front to practice the Party’s mass line and voluntarily accept public supervision. In 2013 pilot committees of journalistic ethics were set up in Hebei, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Shandong and Hubei. Since late April 2014, another 14 pilot committees have been added to the program, including 13 provincial-level committees and one committee for industrial newspapers. The journalistic ethics committees involve a broad participation of all sectors of society and give full play to their role of supervision of the news industry. The provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and units incorporated in the pilot program follow the guideline of focusing on hearing public reports and tip-offs to bring to heel news workers breaking journalistic ethics, and paying attention to both punishment and guidance. Because of their conscientious efforts in receiving public reports and tip-offs, conducting reviews of major misdeeds, disclosing cases of misdeeds to the public and promoting positive models, these committees have been widely acclaimed for their initial success in strengthening self-regulation of the news industry and accepting public supervision.
5. Implementing the pilot program of the media social responsibility report system. In 2014 a pilot program was launched to explore the media social responsibility report system, aimed at spurring the initiative of the news media to fulfill their social responsibility. The program requires news media to publish an annual report on the fulfillment of their social responsibility to receive public supervision. The first 11 news media participating in the pilot program are five state news media — Economic Daily, China Youth Daily, CCTV, people.com.cn and xinhuanet.com — and six local news media — Hebei Daily, Jiefang Daily, Qilu Evening News, Hubei Daily Media Group, Hubei TV and Zhejiang Satellite TV. Each report will be reviewed by the ACJA and the local journalistic ethics committee and checked by the relevant administrative authorities before being published. On June 9, 2014 the 11 reports were published on the ACJA’s website, and received wide recognition and praise from the public.
Chapter 8 International Exchanges and Cooperation
Relevant government authorities, journalists’ organizations, and news media make active efforts to conduct exchanges and cooperation worldwide on the basis of honesty, friendship, equality and mutual benefit, aiming to establish closer ties between the journalistic circles of China and other countries and regions, and deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and other peoples.
The State Council Information Office, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television and the State Internet Information Office work to promote international media cooperation by holding media dialogues and forums, participating in international conferences and activities, and carrying out overseas training of news professionals. Chinese radio and television stations have concluded more than 100 cooperation agreements with government authorities and mainstream broadcasters from over 50 countries and regions, yielding substantial results in the form of news exchanges, program production and technical cooperation. The Chinese government sends delegations to attend important international and regional conferences, such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Moreover, the Chinese government has set up platforms for international media exchanges, including the Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation, China-Arab States Forum on Radio and TV Cooperation, Sino-German Media Dialogue, China-ROK High-level Media Dialogue, Sino-Japanese Media Dialogue, US-China Internet Industry Forum, UK-China Internet Roundtable, ROK-China Internet Roundtable, Internet Roundtable for Emerging Countries, Conference of China-ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information, and Media Cooperation Sub-commission of the Sino-Russian Humanitarian Cooperation Commission. In addition, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has expanded the training of broadcasting professionals from other developing countries by providing training to more than 1,500 editors and reporters from the government broadcasting administrations and radio and television stations of over 100 neighboring, African and Arab countries.
As the official representative of China’s news circles, the ACJA endeavors to promote international media exchanges and the setting up of cooperation platforms through organizing exchange visits and forums and attending international conferences. The ACJA has conducted exchanges with journalists’ organizations of more than 100 countries and regions, and maintains long-term relationships with over 60 of these organizations. Regular exchanges of visits have helped foster mutual understanding and friendship between the news circles of China and other countries and regions. In 2013 the ACJA received 25 delegations consisting of 179 people from 21 countries, including the US, Russia and Japan, who came to China for visits and interviews; the ACJA sent 21 delegations consisting of 166 people to 34 countries, including the US, Russia and Germany, and delegations to attend the World Journalism Conference in the ROK, the Telecommunications and Media Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, and the founding ceremony of the Afro-Asian Media Union in Cairo, Egypt. The ACJA, the NSK (Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, also known as the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association), and the Korean Newspaper and Broadcasting Editors Association held their fourth trilateral seminar for journalists of China, Japan and the ROK in 2014. Since 1992 the ACJA has sent 84 delegations consisting of 997 people from the mainland of China to Taiwan for journalism exchanges and interviews. Since 1987 the ACJA has received 85 delegations consisting of 1,368 people from Taiwan’s news circles visiting the mainland. The year 2013 witnessed the 13th Symposium on Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Journalism, and 2014 marked the 14th Joint Interview Tour by Journalists Across the Taiwan Strait and the 19th Journalism Camp for College Students Across the Taiwan Strait. In 2013 the Chinese Association for Radio, Film and Television Exchanges received delegations from Ethiopia and the DPRK, and film crews from Lebanon, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and India.
The Silk Road Economic Belt Media Cooperation Forum and the 10+3 Media Cooperation Forum hosted by the People’s Daily, the China-Germany Media Forum jointly held by the Global Times and Robert Bosch Stiftung, the China-France Media Forum jointly held by the Global Times Foundation and Charles de Gaulle Foundation serve as important platforms for exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign media. The 2013 World Media Summit Presidium Meeting hosted by the Xinhua News Agency adopted the WMS Charter and set up the WMS Global Awards for Excellence. Through the WMS, jointly initiated by Xinhua and eight other leading overseas media organizations, Xinhua established high-level contacts with 18 United Nations agencies and signed memorandums of cooperation with nine of them. They co-sponsored global media campaigns, including ones for children’s rights and food security. CCTV took its cooperation with Asia Television and Radio Television Hong Kong to a deeper level, launched cooperation with Teledifusão de Macau in the production of Portuguese and Cantonese programs, and joined hands with Taiwan’s Chung T’ien Television in sponsoring the 12th televised quiz on cross-strait issues. Sichuan Radio and Television and the local government of Hong Kong co-sponsored a radio program introducing Hong Kong. The biennial Forum on the Global Chinese Language Media sponsored by China News Service has convened seven times since 2001.