Crackdown on the press
The week's news at a glance.
China is moving to reimpose strict censorship on journalists. Since 2003, when the propaganda minister called on the press to monitor some problems in society, reporters have been delving into official corruption and other embarrassing subjects. Apparently they went too far with that mission. The exposure of the attempted coverup of the SARS epidemic angered Communist leaders, as did the reporting on a huge toxic spill. A new draft law would slap hefty fines on news outlets that report on disasters or riots without government authorization. But Chinese analysts say it may be too late to stop the trend toward openness. Many newspapers are owned by local Communist parties, which are often at odds with the Politburo.