China's General Administration of Press and Publication issued a circular on Friday to protect the legal rights of news organizations and journalists in carrying out interviews, while it also stepped up a crackdown on fake journalists.
The circular said that no organization or individual was allowed to interfere with or prevent journalists from carrying out legal interviews. News organizations and their supervising departments should try to facilitate their journalists' interviews and protect their legal rights, the circular said.
It said that government organizations at all levels and their employees should provide convenient access to journalists and take the initiative in releasing information relevant to the public interest. They may not conceal information from the media.
The circular asked journalists to register and obtain press cards in order to prove their legal identities to their interviewees. Those who forged press cards would be severely punished.
The circular urged news organizations to improve their journalists' ethics and skills, and to prevent them from seeking advantages or bribes from those they interview.
It also emphasized the importance of credible reporting and directed journalists not to distort the truth or disseminate false information. Paid journalism was strictly banned, the circular said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2008)