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China Daily Website

Tougher measures to curb bribery in media

Updated: 2013-12-13 07:54
By Hou Liqiang ( China Daily)

Reports that several high-profile reporters and editors have been charged with accepting bribes led some experts on Thursday to call for legal measures to be used more often against corrupt journalists.

The website of Chinese weekly news magazine Caixin reported many print journalists have been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes. Among them are Xiong Xiong, editor of the IT column of Beijing Youth Daily, and Yang Kairan, editor of the Beijing Times automobile column.

Zhang Jian, a publicity official at Beijing Chaoyang District People's Procuratorate, said on Thursday that local prosecutors charged Xiong on Nov 12 with taking bribes. Chaoyang District People's Court has tried Xiong's case but has yet to deliver a verdict.

An insider at a Beijing court told China Daily that journalists from several media organizations were arrested, and those cases are being handled by local courts.

According to Wednesday's Caixin report, Xiong accepted bribes of more than 1 million yuan ($164,700).

Caixin's Thursday report said Yang was arrested before this year's Chengdu Motor Show, which opened on Aug 30.

The report also said that a group of journalists that included Yang was arrested after another case in which several public relations companies were alleged to have colluded with media employees.

The number of journalists allegedly involved in bribery has triggered a discussion on how to strengthen media self-discipline. This has always been a key concern for the industry worldwide because of the media's special role, which is different from that of other industries, said Wang Sixin, a professor at Communication University of China.

Media mainly offer intellectual and cultural products, and this makes administrative regulations for media difficult to apply, Wang said, adding that most countries expect their media to police themselves.

Some media don't have tight personnel management and don't provide good salaries for their employees, while some media employees take advantage of their positions to accept bribes in the marketing process of the media they work for, Wang added.

Wang suggested that media unions promote self-discipline more aggressively, and that unions should get the authorities to deal with complaints against media employees.

Meanwhile, the nation and media companies should bring more cases into the judicial system, instead of simply handing down administrative punishments, Wang said.

Zhu Lijia, a professor in public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, suggested media organizations set up internal monitoring mechanisms to supplement government administration.

Cao Yin contributed to the story

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