23 August 2019
The microblog post says officials have accused Thepaper  of improper behavior. Photo: HKEJ
The microblog post says officials have accused Thepaper of improper behavior. Photo: HKEJ

Hard-hitting Thepaper accused of improper behavior

Thepaper, a hard-hitting news platform launched by state-backed Shanghai United Media Group in late July, is said to have been harshly criticized and accused of improper behavior by central government officials, according to a post on the official microblog of a think tank under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The National Cultural Safety and Ideology Research Center, which is under the CASS Academy of Marxism, said the unnamed officials reminded “all media, including new media platforms, that they should have only one standard, clear position and stability as their bottom line”, adding that no organization will be exempt from these rules.

The microblog post, which was published on Monday night, was deleted Tuesday afternoon after it was reposted on other microblogs more than 2,000 times.

Thepaper, a new media program with platforms that include a mobile application and a website, aims to become China’s top political news brand. It is said to have received a 200 million yuan (US$32.27 million) investment.

It has published several in-depth reports on the ongoing anti-corruption campaign, including those on Ling Zhengce, brother of the former chief of the General Office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee Ling Jihua, and other top political figures.

Its reports have been widely reprinted by rival newspapers and websites, generating a lot of buzz on social media and other forums.

While some believe Thepaper’s editorial team has been granted greater autonomy in news reporting and is intended to serve as a template for future media reforms, many senior media practitioners consider it as an “authorized trial channel to expose selected in-depth political news”.

The think tank claims it is the first domestic research institution specializing in security and ideology.

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