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China restricts local media from sourcing info from Internet

China aims to crack down on online rumors

China has released new rules limiting the nation's media outlets from sourcing unverified information from the Internet, in its continuing bid to crack down on online rumors.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) posted the new regulations on Friday, stating that the measures would prevent fabricated information from reaching traditional media outlets.

"False reporting is on the rise, partly damaging the image of the government," the posting stated, adding that the fabricated news has also hurt the credibility of media organizations.

Under the new regulations, media groups are prohibited from sourcing unverified information coming from the Internet or mobile phones. Any information of value that comes through the phone, or by emails, blogs or Twitter-like postings must be verified as true by a reporter or editor.

The new regulations are just the latest in a series of moves Chinese authorities have made in response to the growing influence of the country's popular social networks.

China already heavily censors the Internet for anti-government or politically sensitive content, with companies forced to obey the rules. But online social media sites such as Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service, are becoming key forums for expressing public opinion in the country, having already attracted 250 million registered users.

While China's online social networks have exploded in popularity over the last two years, authorities are concerned that the sites are spreading fabricated information. Last month, China's state-run news agency announced authorities had begun detaining Internet users for allegedly starting online rumors.


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