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Lawful news coverage should not be meddled
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As the eighth Journalist's Day approaches, China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) released a notice saying that "lawful news coverage is protected and should not be interfered or hindered by any organizations or individual".

Journalist's Day falls on Nov. 8. The notice released on Monday said China's journalistic cause has developed rapidly in recent years. It cited an increase in new journalists, an expansion in the areas touched upon by news reporting, how the content of news reporting had become deep and detailed, the ways in how news coverage had become more varied and how news reporting influence had strengthened.

However, the journalism field also faced problems that could not be ignored, such as how some organizations or staff meddled in a journalist's regular news reporting duties. In some cases, journalists have been beaten and their equipment destroyed. In addition, some people have posed as journalists to cheat others in the name of news coverage, while some journalism organizations have neglected to sign contracts with employees and apply for the required journalist card for them according to the relevant state regulations, the notice said.

"The above wrongdoing has severely affected regular news coverage and infringed upon the interview rights of journalists and the right of the general public to know," it said.

The notice pointed out that "news coverage is an important channel for ensuring the general public's right to know and in improving public supervision. Therefore, relevant Party and government departments and their staff must provide convenient and necessary conditions for lawful news coverage."

All news organizations should follow the Labor Contract Law effective as of January. 1, 2008, in endorsing work contracts with their journalists, paying social insurance fees for them and in protecting the lawful interests of their staff.

The notice said news reporting and editing were the core work for news organizations. News organizations needed to select those who were competent, disciplined and with moral integrity to engage in news coverage and to strengthen assessment, training, education and management for journalism staff. News organizations should apply for a journalist card for those qualified staff in time.

The notice reiterated that journalists should obey state laws and regulations, as well as professional ethics when they engage in news reporting. News coverage must be real, accurate, objective, just and should not blemish state interests or infringe upon the lawful rights of citizens.

Journalists should not write "paid news" or push enterprises to make advertisement in their news publications. They should also not seek other unjustifiable interests under the guise of news reporting. Journalists are required to show their journalist card voluntarily when covering news.

The GAPP reiterated in the notice that a journalist card is produced and released solely by the organization. Any other organization or individual is not entitled to produce and release the card.

The notice reminded the public to log on to to check the authenticity of journalist cards. It asked the general public to inform police authorities or relevant departments immediately if someone is spotted cheating others with a fake journalist card.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2007)

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