China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is soliciting public opinion for drafting the Market Access Negative List 2021, in which it clearly stipulates that non-public capital shall not engage in news gathering, editing and broadcasting, indicating a wider range of regulations targeting media-related services.
Not only shall non-public capital not engage in live broadcast services, but it must also not invest in the establishment and operation of news organizations, including but not limited to news agencies, newspaper publishing units, and radio and television broadcasting organizations, according to the list.
Prohibited broadcasting areas for non-public capital includes almost all sectors such as politics, the economy, military, diplomacy, culture, science, education and sports.
Non-public capital is not allowed to hold forum summits or award activities in the field of news and public opinion. Broadcasting news released by foreign entities is also prohibited for non-public capital.
This is not the first time the regulators have introduced rules targeting non-public capital in the field of news reporting. In 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) clearly mentioned that non-public capital must not be involved in the news gathering and editing business.
However, since the CAC is mainly responsible for network information supervision, which is limited to the internet, the new regulation by the NDRC has filled in the gap in the regulations by covering a wider range of fields for both online and offline sectors, Wang Sixin, a professor of law at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times on Friday.
“You must be qualified to publish news, just like if you are not a doctor, then you cannot treat patients,” said Wang.
Non-public capital is not allowed to operate news-related businesses, which means that the potential influence and risk from foreign capital and non-public capital in news gathering and publication are excluded, experts said.