Chinese daily apologises for backing detained scribe
Days after it used its front page to campaign for the release of its detained reporter, a Chinese newspaper on Sunday apologised for seriously damaging the credibility of the media after the journalist confessed that he had defamed a state-run firm in exchange for money.
Beijing: Days after it used its front page to campaign for the release of its detained reporter, a Chinese newspaper on Sunday apologised for seriously damaging the credibility of the media after the journalist confessed that he had defamed a state-run firm in exchange for money.
The Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express said it failed to verify stories by Chen Yongzhou, who was detained by police from central China`s Hunan Province and confessed that he had received money from others for the reports.
"A preliminary police investigation showed that our reporter Chen Yongzhou had been incited by others to write numerous inaccurate stories in exchange for money, seriously violating the China News Workers` code of Professional Ethics and the principle of news authenticity," the newspaper said in a front-page statement.
"Meanwhile, the newspaper failed to carefully review the reports," it said.
However, the paper did not clarify from whom Chen, 27, received the money or at whose request he wrote the stories, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
"After the incident, our newspaper took improper actions, seriously damaging the credibility of the media, and this is a profound lesson for us," the statement said, apparently referring to its release of two front-page editorials requesting Chen`s release prior to his confession.
The newspaper on Wednesday carried a full-page editorial under the headline "Please release (him)," and published another plea on Thursday, "Once again please release (him)."
Chen was held on October 9 in Guangzhou by Hunan police on "suspicion of damaging business reputation" after he reported "financial problems" at Zoomlion, a large engineering company based in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.
On video footage aired by China Central Television showed Chen as saying to police that he had continuously released a series of unverified and false reports against Zoomlion.
The reports had resulted in the company`s stocks dropping and public accusations against its management.
Chen has served as a New Express reporter since 2009. He apologised to the company, the stock investors and his own family members.
The New Express said in the statement that it would strengthen management of its news workers and the publication procedure, and carry out an overhaul targeting any existing problems.