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Media Called to Follow News Ethics
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China's press departments on Monday reiterated that all media staff must "strictly follow news ethics" and persist with the "authenticity of journalism" days after the infamous cardboard bun expose was labeled a hoax by the government.

"The fabricated report about the cardboard buns, produced by the Beijing TV's Life Channel and carried by many other media, has had an extremely bad influence on society," said a statement jointly released by three departments.

It condemned the act of fabricating news following a government announcement that the report on buns stuffed with cardboard aired on Beijing TV was fake.

The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and General Administration of Press and Publications reminded state media and provincial-level publicity departments in charge of local media to "brush up on journalistic ethnics" and "maintain the image and social credibility of the Chinese media".

"Authenticity is the lifeblood of journalism while fabricated reporting is its arch-enemy," it said.

Some media workers, defying news ethnics and state regulations, fabricated news to seek profits or influence, resulting in an "extremely serious" outcome, said the statement.

All media organizations must ensure the authenticity of news sources and facts and regulate the flow of news editing such as the use of public contributions and Internet resources, it said, adding editors are not allowed to run stories that have not been verified.

The statement also required reporters to "take press cards while covering new events".

The departments vowed to "impose heavy penalties" to reporters and media organizations that deliberately fabricate news stories or stir the influence of faked news, it said.

Six Beijing TV workers were either criticized, reprimanded or sacked for their roles in the report and Beijing TV issued an apology.

The head of Beijing Television Station was publicly reprimanded and the editor-in-chief was given a warning. One deputy editor-in-chief was given a demerit, said the statement. All three were asked to compose self-criticisms.

The deputy director in charge of the Life Channel of the TV service -- the director's post is vacant -- and the producer and a deputy director in charge of the Transparency program were sacked.

Police have arrested the reporter, Zi Beijia, a temporary employee.

Beijing TV has also terminated the contracts of editorial staff on the Transparency program.

(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2007)

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