China to restrict digital media from publishing news found on social platforms

Publication of news gathered from social media sites will require approval.

China's internet regulator plans to restrain the reporting of news gathered from social media as part of a campaign against fake news and spreading of rumours.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Sunday the digital media will not be allowed to report any news from social media sites without approval.

"It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts," the regulator told Reuters.

It also said: "All levels of the cyberspace administration must earnestly fulfill their management responsibility for internet content, strengthen supervision and investigation, severely probe and handle fake and unfactual news."

The regulator listed a number of fake stories, including one about a bus fire that was recently circulated on the internet.

The Chinese exercises extensive controls over the internet. It also wants to codify the cyber policy in law.

The officials said internet restrictions are required to ensure security against rising threats like terrorism and to stop the spread of damaging rumours. These restrictions also include blocking of popular foreign sites and other social media sites like Google and Facebook.

The foreign governments and business groups have highlighted these online restrictions as a major trade issue.

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