More signals on social media control

We noted at CMP yesterday that the rhetoric of online information control has been gearing up in China in recent days, focusing on social media and particularly on microblogging platforms like Sina Weibo. Like the recent action by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to ban the insertion of advertisements in television dramas in China, the intensified campaign against “unhealthy” information online — microblog rumors are characterized as a “drugs,” for example — takes its cues from the October “Decision” on so-called cultural reforms.

One of the most important in a recent spate of signals in China’s state media is an article in the People’s Daily by Wang Chen (王晨), the director of the State Internet Information Office, the internet control agency created under the State Council Information Office on May 4, 2011.

In the piece, which reflects the Party’s official position on social media, Wang makes the importance of the recent high-level Party meeting on culture clear from the outset. The Party must, he says, “conscientiously implement a number of deployment demands in the ‘Decision’ of the Sixth Plenum of the Party’s 17th Central Committee concerning the ‘development of a healthy and upright online culture,’ the ‘strengthening of public opinion channeling on the internet, singing the ideological and cultural main theme online” and ‘strengthening the channeling and control of social media and real-time communication tools (即时通信工具).’”

Since President Hu Jintao’s address at People’s Daily in June 2008, the concept of “public opinion channeling,” or yulun yindao (舆论引导), has been a central part of the Party’s press control strategy. It implies a more modern, slightly more savvy approach to traditional “public opinion guidance,” the notion (born in June 1989) that the Party must enforce its political line in the media in order to maintain social and political stability and Party rule.

“Public opinion channeling,” which CMP Director Qian Gang has called “Control 2.0,” focuses not just on restricting information but ensuring that the Party’s own authoritative version of the facts predominates. In other words, information can no longer be simply controlled through traditional censorship tactics — it has to be actively spun as well.

The following is a more or less full translation of Wang Chen’s remarks in the People’s Daily.

Actively Carrying Out Public Opinion Channeling Work
Wang Chen (王晨), Director of the State Internet Information Office
People’s Daily
November 28, 2011

Microblogs, as a new application of the internet, are vested with the qualities of rapid transmission, broad coverage and strong influence, and they are an important platform for the transmission of information. We must, in order to strategically raise the governing capacity of our Party and government, conscientiously implement a number of deployment demands in the “Decision” of the sixth plenum of the Party’s 17th Central Committee concerning the “development of a healthy and upright online culture,” the “strengthening of public opinion channeling on the internet, singing the ideological and cultural main theme online” and “strengthening the channeling and control of social media and real-time communication tools (即时通信工具)”. As suits the new circumstances, [we must] use new platforms, actively carrying out public opinion channeling work through microblogs, working hard to use microblogs to serve the masses and serve society.

[We must] transmit advanced culture (先进文化) and promote and develop healthy social trends through the Weibo. Now many regions have prioritized the strengthening of microblog content building, using microblogs to transmit scientific theories, advocate advanced culture, promote social uprightness and espouse good [social] habits, encouraging a flourishing internet culture and the development of internet civilization (网络文明). [Here, Wang talks about the "great results" this year in using microblogs to bolster propaganda objectives like the celebration of the Party's 90th anniversary]. [We] hope that various regions and various units will actively put microblogging [technology] to use, maintaining closeness to the truth, closeness to life and closeness to the masses, releasing more healthy and beneficial new content, revealing more fully a positive new [climate of] prevailing practices (积极向上的新风尚) [on social media], reflecting more fully the new gesture of protecting the people’s fundamental interests, further raising the capacity for public opinion channeling and response [to sudden-breaking incidents and news stories], better serving economic reform and opening and modernization.

[We must] provide more rich and various information services through microblogs. Right now, around 50 microblogging sites within our borders have a total of more than 200 million new posts each day, providing a diverse sea of information, adding convenience to the masses of internet users in their study, work and life. [We] must actively encourage relevant parties to provide even more useful information in areas such as commerce, lifestyle, education and entertainment, satisfying internet users’ multi-faceted, diverse and multi-layered spiritual culture demand (精神文化需求) [NOTE: This awkward terms simply refers to demand for information and content, but we leave the more direct term to give a flavor of the official discourse here]. [We] must more fully utilize microblogs to promote economic development and serve the active needs of the social masses, ensuring that microblogs become a channel for transmitting advanced socialist culture (社会主义先进文化), a new platform for public culture services (公共文化服务), and a new space for the healthy cultural lives of the people.

[We must] encourage greater interaction and discussion among internet users through microblogs. Information generated in discussion and exchange among web users constitutes the bulk of microblog content, and the primary demand of web users in utilizing microblogs is that they can be used for the exchange of ideas and emotions and for conversation in life and work. In particular, the use of microblogs by internet users to share their joys and grievances, effectively work out their emotions and balance their mindsets has promoted microblogs in becoming an important social platform through which the public can exchange and converse. [We] hope the celebrity microbloggers (知名博主) can continue to develop their sensitivity to the national circumstances and to the social situation, raising their sense of social responsibility, thoroughly taking on a positive role in channeling online public opinion.

[We must] build internet civilization through microblogs. In recent years, the campaign of “running a civilized Web, and going online in a civilized manner” (文明办网、文明上网) has steadily moved forward, and has effectively purified the online environment, raising the level of internet civilization (提升了网络文明水平). Building internet civilization is an important part of the [project of] building socialist spiritual civilization (社会主义精神文明建设). Many writers, scholars, artists and advanced workers from various quarters have actively taken up use of microblogs to expound scientific theories [i.e., what is rational in the Party's view], propagate the socialist core value system (社会主义核心价值体系), to share knowledge drawn from their work, to introduce their cultural products, etcetera, resulting in the emergence of internet cultural products that are vested with a Chinese style, show the spirit of the age and are of good taste. [We] hope that websites and our web user friends further establish an internet civilization consciousness (网络文明意识), acting on the “view of honor and shame” (荣辱观) by which “abiding by law and discipline brings honor, and acting against the law and discipline bring shame.” [NOTE: This is a reference to Hu Jintao's "Eight Honors and Eight Shames," which were introduced during the internet cleansing campaign in 2007. It was during that year that the idea of a "civilized Web" was drummed home by the leadership. Web portals were pressed to clean up their act along the lines indicated by the Party, and they signed up to public pledges for a "cleaner" internet.] [This is about] advocating civilized expression (倡文明表达), creating a civilized atmosphere (创文明环境), posting civilized blog [and microblog] posts (发文明博文), and being civilized blog [and microblog] account holders (做文明博主) — promoting microblogs in becoming a new platform for the transmission of positive information (积极向上信息) and rational and civilized expression of opinion, in becoming a cultural and public opinion front in actualizing the Socialist View of Honor and Shame (社会主义荣辱观) and promoting the socialist core value system.

[We must] use microblogs as a means for Party organizations and governments to better interact with the masses and serve the masses. For some time now, Party and government organizations at various levels, people’s congresses and political consultative conferences, judicial organs and other state organs as well as people’s groups and public officers, all have used microblogs to better understand the social mood and public opinion, to listen to the voices of the masses, to care about the hardships of the masses — and they have used microblogs as an important channel for connecting with and serving the masses. Up to this point, Party and government organs and public officers have opened up a total of 40,000 microblog accounts. These include the Information Office of the Nanjing City Government in Jiangsu province, the political affairs microblog of Aksu Prefecture in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the microblog group of Mudan District in Heze City in Shandong, and a whole group of other official Party and government microblogs that issue government affairs-related information in a timely manner, showing active concern, realizing good-natured interaction with the masses, promoting work of substance. [Here Wang talks further about the hope that Party and governments organs and leaders will continue to use social media actively as a means to better interact with the public and understand their concerns].

As we actively encourage various aspects [on the government side, intellectuals, member of the public etc.] to actively use microblogs to serve society, we must recognize that there are a number of problems involved in the use of microblogs that must be settled urgently. A small number of people use microblogs to fabricate and disseminate rumors, or to transmit obscene or vulgar information, intentionally violating the rights of others and carrying out illegal online public relations [activities]. These must be investigated and handled according to laws and regulations. When they are online, internet users must obey the law and discipline themselves, not transmitting rumors and not believing rumors. Various microblogging sites must strengthen their management of information posting, not providing a transmission channel to illegal or harmful information.. [We] invite the online masses to actively notify [authorities] of obscene or other harmful information, so that together we can create a creditable, healthy and civilized internet environment.

Strengthening the use and management of microblogs and other new media, promoting the building of internet culture, is a pressing demand in the strengthening of the building of the governing capacity of the Party and the government in the new era. In fact, the question of how to develop and manage microblogs is one many nations in the world together face. . . [Closing is about following President Hu Jintao's leadership in tackling all of the above-mentioned issues and "promoting social harmony and stability."]

http://www.scio.gov.cn/ztk/hlwxx/07/3/201111/t1055267.htm

王晨主任在《人民日报》发表署名文章:积极开展微博客舆论引导工作
国务院新闻办公室门户网站 www.scio.gov.cn | 发布:2011-11-28 | 来源:人民日报 | 作者:

积极开展微博客舆论引导工作
中央外宣办、国家互联网信息办主任
王 晨

微博客作为互联网一种新应用,具有传播快、覆盖广、影响大等特点,是信息传播的一个重要平台。我们要从提高党和政府治国理政能力的战略高度,认真贯彻落实党的十七届六中全会《决定》中有关“发展健康向上的网络文化”、“加强网上舆论引导,唱响网上思想文化主旋律”和“加强对社交网络和即时通信工具等的引导和管理”的部署要求,适应新形势、运用新平台,积极开展微博客舆论引导工作,努力运用微博客服务群众、服务社会。

通过微博客传播先进文化、弘扬社会正气。现在不少地区和单位重视加强微博客内容建设,通过微博客宣传科学理论,传播先进文化,弘扬社会正气,倡导良好风尚,推动了网络文化繁荣和网络文明的发展。特别是今年以来,充分发挥微博客等新技术新应用的作用,成功开展了隆重庆祝中国共产党成立九十周年等一系列重大主题报道,浓墨重彩讴歌了我们党团结带领全国各族人民夺取革命、建设、改革开放伟大胜利的丰功伟绩。希望各地区各单位积极运用微博客,坚持贴近实际、贴近生活、贴近群众,更多发布健康有益的新内容,更多展现积极向上的新风尚,更多反映维护人民群众根本利益的新举措,进一步提高舆论引导和应对能力,更好地为改革开放和现代化建设服务。

通过微博客提供丰富多彩的信息服务。目前,境内50余家微博客网站每天更新帖文达2亿多条,提供了丰富多彩的海量信息,方便了广大网民的学习工作和生活。要积极鼓励有关方面提供更多商务类、生活类、教育类、文娱类等实用信息,满足网民多方面、多样化、多层次的精神文化需求,更好地发挥微博客促进经济发展、服务社会大众的积极作用,使微博客成为传播社会主义先进文化的新途径、公共文化服务的新平台、人们健康精神文化生活的新空间。

通过微博客促进网民沟通交流。网民沟通交流的信息是微博客内容的主体,进行情感思想沟通和工作生活交流是网民使用微博客的主要需求。特别是网民通过微博客分享快乐、分担忧伤,有效疏导了情绪、平衡了心态,推动微博客成为公众沟通交流的重要社交平台。希望知名博主不断增进对国情、社情、网情的了解,增强社会责任感,充分发挥在网上舆论引导中的积极作用。

通过微博客推进网络文明建设。近年来,“文明办网、文明上网”活动不断推进,有效净化了网络环境,提升了网络文明水平。网络文明建设是社会主义精神文明建设的重要内容。许多作家、学者、艺术家和各界先进工作者等积极使用微博客阐释科学理论、宣传社会主义核心价值体系、交流工作心得、推介文化产品等,形成了具有中国气派、体现时代精神、品位高雅的网络文化品牌。希望网站和网民朋友进一步树立网络文明意识,践行“以遵纪守法为荣,以违法乱纪为耻”的荣辱观,倡文明表达、创文明环境,发文明博文、做文明博主,推动微博客成为传播积极向上信息和文明理性表达意见的新平台,成为践行社会主义荣辱观、弘扬社会主义核心价值体系的文化阵地、舆论阵地。

通过微博客推动党政机关和领导干部更好地联系群众、服务群众。一段时间以来,各级党政、人大、政协、司法等国家机关和人民团体及公职人员,通过微博客了解社情民意,倾听群众呼声、了解群众愿望、关心群众疾苦,把微博客作为联系群众、服务群众的重要渠道。目前,党政机关及公职人员已开设的4万多个微博客账户,包括江苏省南京市政府新闻办、新疆维吾尔自治区阿克苏市政务微博群、山东省菏泽市牡丹区政务微博群等一大批党政机关官方微博客,及时发布政务信息,认真回应关切,实现了与公众的良性互动,推动了实际工作。我们希望党政机关和党政领导干部、特别是与民生密切相关的部门和公职人员,通过微博客问政于民、问需于民、问计于民,妥善回应网上热点,努力引导好社会舆论,切实维护人民群众的合法权益。在使用微博客时,希望党政机关和公职人员严格区分职务行为和个人行为,遵守有关政治纪律和组织纪律,认真维护微博客,及时更新信息,提高沟通质量,加强良性互动,扩大社会影响。

在积极鼓励各个方面运用微博客服务社会的同时,也应看到目前微博客使用中还存在着一些亟待解决的问题。少数人利用微博客编造和散布谣言,传播淫秽色情低俗信息,故意侵犯他人权益,进行非法网络公关,必须依法依规予以查处。网民在上网时应守法自律,不传谣、不信谣。微博客网站应加强信息发布管理,不给违法有害信息提供传播渠道。欢迎广大公众积极举报网上淫秽色情等有害信息,共同创建一个诚信健康文明的网络环境。

加强对微博客等新兴媒体的运用和管理,推进网络文化建设,是新时期加强党和政府执政能力建设的迫切要求。实际上,对微博客如何发展和管理也是世界上不少国家面临的共同课题。我们要在以胡锦涛同志为总书记的党中央坚强领导下,深入贯彻落实中央关于互联网建设管理的一系列重要精神,坚持积极利用、科学发展、依法管理、确保安全的方针,解放思想,与时俱进,积极应对,兴利除弊,努力做好微博客舆论引导工作,充分发挥微博客服务群众服务社会的作用,促进社会和谐稳定,为党和国家工作大局服务,为广大人民群众服务。

——————–

Leave a Comment