China announces tighter regulations for online news
The Chinese government has issued new regulations tightening its control over online news content.
Companies that publish, share or edit news will need a government licence, and senior editors must be approved by the authorities.
Other staff will be required to undergo government training and assessment, and receive official accreditation.
The legislation will bring online news providers into line with traditional news media operating in the country.
From 1 June, when the rules come into force, they will be expected to follow "information security protocols", including "emergency response" measures such as increased vetting following disasters, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
In a statement published online, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the new rules would "strengthen management of information" and "promote the healthy and orderly development of internet news, in accordance to law".
The list of providers and platforms covered includes "websites, applications, forums, blogs, microblogs, public accounts, instant messaging tools and internet broadcasts".
Organisations that do not have a licence will not be allowed to post news or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, or "other areas of public interest".
Editorial and business operations must be kept separate.
Only publicly funded organisations will be able to carry out their own reporting.
Chinese outlets will not be allowed to enter joint ventures with foreign partners, or accept foreign funding, until they have a passed a security assessment carried out by the government's State Council Information Office.
Companies that fail to comply will have their licences withdrawn and face fines of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,350: ?3,370).
Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many foreign news websites are banned in China.
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