China orders media crackdown

BEIJING - China closed the website of a leading reformist magazine on Friday and ordered a crackdown on "irregular practices" by media outlets.

Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine said on its microblog account that its website, www.yhcqw.com, was "suddenly cancelled" for unspecified reasons after orders by government departments.

The website's homepage was redirected to a "visit refused" page with a message saying the site had been shut down for failing to register with police and commercial authorities.

The magazine had run a New Year's editorial under the headline "The constitution is a consensus for political reform," urging the government to heed popular opinion and allow greater freedom of speech and the rule of law in line with China's national constitution.

State media quoted Liu Binjie, head of the General Administration of Press and Publication, which oversees China's media and publishers, as saying Friday that media organizations should curb "irregular practices" and "weed out unlicensed reporters in order to preserve the reputation of the country's news media."

Liu said the administration would also target "unqualified" reporters who used press cards and crack down on attempted blackmail by journalists, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

At a separate meeting of propaganda officials on Friday, Liu Yunshan, the ruling Communist Party's propaganda chief, urged media and cultural organisations to promote "healthy and upbeat mainstream ideology and public opinion."

The agency quoted Liu Yunshan as saying the media should better reflect "the messages of the party and the government" and "the voice of the general public."

In another sign of tension in China's media industry, dozens of journalists issued an open letter Friday to protest the rewriting of an editorial in the influential Southern Weekend newspaper by a government censor.

Last week, the party adopted a regulation requiring the country's 500 million internet users to register their real names.

It said the latest control on online activity was designed to "enhance the protection of personal information online and safeguard public interests." 

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Writer: dpa
Position: News agency