China has tightened its grip on online news outlets, while the rest of the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day.
According to the country’s new rules, released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), online media platforms can only be managed by editorial staff who have been approved by the Communist government.
Their workers also have to additionally undergo training and reporting credentials from the central government, according to Reuters.
The new rules were released on Tuesday, a day ahead of World Press Freedom Day.
They’ll take effect on June 1, and apply to all blogs, websites, forums, search engines, instant messaging apps or news-distributing platforms.
Under the rules, editorial guidance measures used for mainstream media will apply to online providers too — such as requiring content be vetted in the aftermath of a disaster. For the past decade, newspapers in the country have had to get permission from the government before reporting on incidents deemed disasters by the state.
A Chinese publication that wants to set up a joint venture with a foreign partner, or accept foreign funding, must also first be assessed by the State Internet Information Office.
China’s President Xi had last year called for increased regulation of China’s Internet, with the CAC ordering major online companies including Tencent Holdings — which runs top social networks such as WeChat and QQ — to stop original news reporting.
For the rest of us, cherish press freedom.