Thirty-one news websites have been shut down for operating without permits, conducting interviews in the name of news organizations and editing false information for blackmail and extortion, the State Internet Information Office said Thursday.
These websites include Ren Min Nei Can Wang, an unlicensed website that specialized in publishing false information and blackmailing companies and individuals by threatening to release false information about them, and peoplerw.com.cn, according to a statement issued by the office.
The latter was run using the name renwu.people.com.cn, a channel of people.com.cn, an online news portal operated by the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, according to the statement.
Officials said these unlicensed websites have disrupted order in the dissemination of online news information, undermined the reputations of licensed Internet news organizations and damaged the legal rights of individuals and legal entities.
According to a regulation on the management of Internet news information, websites must obtain government approval before providing such services.
The office has vowed to join forces with relevant authorities to punish violators through intensified efforts.
The closure of the unlicensed websites was the outcome of a two-month campaign launched by the office on May 9 to standardize the dissemination of online news.
Officials with the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center said the center encouraged the public to report websites in violation of relevant regulations.