China has yet again tried to assert its control on the social media space with its “anti-self-media” propaganda which means news is independently created and posted on social media or the Web by independent netizens who are not registered as journalists, Bitter Winter reported. Chinese administration said that these “self-media” producers copied the mainline media presentations and style to deceive the audience to enhance their credibility. And according to the Chinese Communist Party, the “self-media” targets the administration which is against their policies.
CCP directed to clean up such formats of media in a period of two months. The Internet Information Offices of the CCP Committees of each province, autonomous region, and municipality are directly under the Central Government and the Internet Information Office of the CCP Committee of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (a state within the state of Xinjiang).
Quoting Xi Jinping, who is obsessed with the CCP’s lack of success in controlling the web and often sees “chaos” there, the directive calls for these offices to “rectify the chaos of self-media, solve deep-seated problems such as the distortion of information content by self-media and … maintain a good order in the dissemination of online information content.” Social media and other platforms are expected to cooperate through preventive and successive control of what is posted. The aim is to “resolutely crack down on prominent issues such as self-media spreading rumours,” “harmful information and fake news.”
The CCP claimed that ‘self-media‘ fabricate the false events, and bizarre stories, falsify the causes, details, progress or results of certain incidents, and create rumours out of nothing.” Other “self-media” may subtly spread prohibited content by fabricating false “Chinese classics or texts by early revolutionaries,” reported Bitter Winter.
Sectors where information should not escape control, the directive says, include “public policy, the macroeconomic situation, major disasters, hotly debated incidents, etc., taking them out of context, distorting their interpretation, distorting right and wrong to launch attacks, exaggerating tragedy and inciting confrontation, creating harmful information that damages the image of the CCP and the government and interferes with the economic and social development.”
Even when the information is true, “malicious hype’ may still be used to criticize or damage the Party and the government. And even when the “self-media” simply reproduce information officially approved by the CCP, they may still cause harm by including “improper comments, non-approved interpretations, or one-sided misinterpretations of government policies or hotly debated events.”
The repeated references to “hotly debated events” show that the CCP is aware of the damage caused by hundreds of thousands of “self-media” reports. And of course “self-media” also offered non-official information about the COVID quarantines and related protests, according to Bitter Winter.