The Chinese government has always been sensitive about the news, and part of the way they’ve controlled is by deciding who is and who isn’t qualified or licensed to be a journalist. You don’t want
FLG they-who-cannot-be-named people showing up as accredited journalists and then disrupting major state events. Of course, many have placed their (last shreds) of hope on the internet, which despite being policed, is still a fairly “free” place to exchange ideas or striptease on your webcam. So imagine our dismay when we saw this short, seemingly innocuous piece of news about the need for those who work in internet news to have accreditation:
记者前天从市文化人才认证中心获悉，一个名为“互联网新闻与信息编辑”的人才认证项目已在上海启动，今后本市所有从事网络新闻编辑的人员，都必需持证上岗。这也是我国首次对互联网新闻从业人员进行职业资质认定。(Translation: This reporter recently confirmed that a new “internet news and information editing” accreditation will soon be implemented in Shanghai, after which anyone in the city who works in internet based news or information will be required to have this in order to work. This is the first measure of its kind in China)
Not to be alarmist, but we can’t help but think this is more than just red tape for the purpose of creating jobs — something definitely stinks about this, and unfortunately, that stink is emanating from someone in the municipal government who has no doubt kissed a lot of conservative ass. At this point, we don’t know the scope of this measure, but the article does mention that even BBS (bulletin board) administrators are included. And guess what you have to learn in order to pass the test and get the credential — all the usual garbage relating to internet news and laws, but also “Marxist news theory” (马克思主义新闻理论), which in essence is a slight variation on the “if it bleeds it leads” concept — “if it leads, by God I’ll make sure you bleed.”
Photo from media.people.com.cn.