Less than a week after boldly campaigning for the freedom of Chen Yongzhou across its front page, Guangzhou newspaper New Express on Sunday released a statement apologizing for ‘untrue’ stories told by its reporter who was detained by police on October 18 and confessed on Saturday to fabricating articles about a company for money.
According to Xinhua, the newspaper said it failed to verify the stories by Chen, who stated in his confession that he received money from another interest group for a series of false reports he published about a company called Zoomlion.
The newspaper again took to its front page to issue this statement: “A preliminary police investigation showed that our reporter Chen Yongzhou had been incited by others to write numerous inaccurate stories in exchange for money, seriously violating the China News Workers’ code of Professional Ethics and the principle of news authenticity. Meanwhile, the newspaper failed to carefully review the reports”.
“After the incident, our newspaper took improper actions, seriously damaging the credibility of the media, and this is a profound lesson for us,” the statement said.
The paper ran two separate front-page headlines calling for the reporter’s release last week.
The New Express said in the statement that it would strengthen management of its news workers and the publication procedure, and carry out an overhaul targeting any existing problems.
An interview request by Xinhua was declined by the paper’s administration.