Phoenix Satellite TV is one of the most influential Chinese-language media based in Hong Kong and the mainland. On September 26, a notice that Phoenix News Media posted on its website revealed that the network must undergo an internal shakeup. The official internet security management department made the request because the media was accused of “spreading illegal information, distorting the original meaning of the news headlines, and illegally reprinting news information.” The notice stated the network’s information channel, technology channel, and financial channels will be suspended temporarily from September 26 to October 10 and there will be no updates during that period. A Radio Free Asia article stated that this is a harsh punishment for a news station and is a reflection of Beijing’s tightened control over the news media. This is also the third time this year that the Phoenix News has been ordered to have an internal shakeup. In February, six online news websites, including Phoenix News Media were criticized for providing “unauthorized Internet audiovisual program service.” In April, the Phoenix News App was disabled and couldn’t be downloaded for two weeks. Meanwhile Phoenix is not the only news station being scrutinized this time. In September, the financial section of 163.com was also ordered to shut down for two weeks from September 11-25.
RFA quoted a comment that said, “After so many years, ifeng.com has long been like the official (communist) media. It has pushed patriotic news all day long. No matter whether it is Phoenix Satellite TV or ifeng.com, they have already changed. There is nothing to look at.” Another comment stated that “(all media) should listen to the party’s words in the future. The next target will be the portal website and Weibo.”
1. Ifeng.com, September 26, 2018
2. Radio Free Asia, October 5, 2018