March 21, 2018 / 7:04 AM / a year ago

China tightens grip on media with regulator reshuffle - Communist Party document

BEIJING, March 21 (Reuters) - China is consolidating film, news and publishing regulation under the powerful Communist Party publicity department, strengthening Beijing’s grip over content, according to a document reviewed by Reuters and a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The shift comes as China looks to merge ministries and create new regulators overseeing matters from banking to food safety, in the biggest government shake-up in years.

China, under President Xi Jinping, has been cracking down on news, online content and film that goes against Party values.

The reorganisation would mean the publicity department would play a “special and important role in propaganda ideology and cultural entertainment” said the notice from the ruling Party’s Central Committee and dated March 19.

The publicity department did not immediately reply to a faxed request for comment and could not be reached by phone.

The body will take on powers over film, news and publishing, previously held by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which was dissolved earlier this month as part of the wider reshuffle.

In addition, China has also approved the creation of new broadcaster called “Voice of China,” which will consolidate several existing state TV and radio stations, the document said.

The newly created broadcaster will be directed by the publicity department.

Reporting by Pei Li and Christian Shepherd; Editing by Michael Perry

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