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China bans media from reporting online postings

China's censors are trying to keep online criticism and rumours from reaching a broader audience, issuing new orders prohibiting news media from reporting internet postings before they are verified.
Chinese men use computers at an internet cafe in Beijing. The country's censors are banning journalists from reporting any information taken from the internet or cellphones without firsthand verification. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Presss)

China's censors are trying to keep online criticism and rumours from reaching a broader audience, issuing new orders prohibiting news media from reporting internet postings before they are verified.

The regulations, dated last month but posted Friday on the website of the state press administration, ban journalists from reporting any information taken from the Internet or cellphones without firsthand verification. The regulations say reporters or editors may be barred from working in media for five years as a penalty.

The rules are the latest attempt by the authoritarian government to reassert control over the flow of information that is being challenged by the popularity of social media.