Beijing: Alleging "hostile foreign forces" were behind a rare protest by journalists demanding freedom from interference in media, China's ruling Communist Party has asserted its "absolute and unshakable" control over media organs and ruled out any changes.
"The party has absolute control of China's media. This basic principle is unshakable," said a memo reportedly issued by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party's Central Committee to Party Chiefs and media officials.
Referring to yesterday's protests by journalists of the Guangzhou based Chinese language newspaper Southern Weekend demanding freedom from interference from local Party officials, the memo said, "the incident has nothing to do with Guangdong province's propaganda chief comrade Tuo Zhen."
The journalists blamed Tuo of altering a critical editorial written by the editors in the New Year edition adding pro-Party and government content.
Instead the memo blamed foreign forces behind the incident.
"Hostile foreign forces had interfered in the Southern Weekend incident," the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the momo as saying.
The memo requires officials to continue to prevent editors and journalists from expressing online support for Southern Weekend. It also asked newspapers to print an editorial published by the state-run newspaper, the Global Times, today which ruled out freedom of press.
It blamed former employees of the Southern Weekly and activists, including the US settled blind Chinese rights activists Chen Guangcheng, "among those who avidly promote the issue online".
"Their campaign, ostensibly aiming at specific officials, actually targets China's entire media system", it said.
"For media professionals, it is clear that under the reality of China's current state of affairs, the country is unlikely to have the 'absolutely free media' that is dreamed of by those activists," the editorial said calling for "soul searching".