China's media regulator reprimands 15 domestic news publishers for false reports: Xinhua

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's media regulator has said it has uncovered false reports at 15 domestic news organisations, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The business magazine Caijing, Shanghai's The Paper and the Jinan Times were among the publications that published false news, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said on Friday (April 22).

The regulator said a report by Caijing in February on the social decline of a village contained false information and it had retracted the certification of the journalist responsible, Xinhua said.

Online websites that circulated the article without confirming its authenticity would be penalised, it said.

The Paper had circulated false reports about an earthquake while the Jinan Times had misrepresented photographs, Xinhua reported the regulator as saying.

SAPPRFT, Caijing, The Paper and the Jinan Times could not be immediately reached for comment.

A regulator official told Xinhua the false reports were seriously misleading and had an adverse social impact. They also damaged the credibility of the media.

President Xi Jinping's government has tightened Internet and media controls as part of a campaign to prevent false news.

Critics say the campaign is a bid to control publishers.