China will boost the development of online media by encouraging eligible websites to go public and create new mainstream media institutions and groups during the 2016-2020 period, according to a government blueprint made public Sunday.
Issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, the outline for the 13th five-year program (2016-2020) on cultural development and reform vowed to gradually set up a modern communication system by 2020.
As a major project to "build public opinion fronts" online, efforts will be made to improve the communication abilities of major news websites and online radio and TV stations and develop a system for communication on the mobile Internet."
"Eligible websites will be encouraged to go public," it said.
Authorities will give support to mainstream media institutions in developing their websites and new media. It will step up efforts to guide and standardize investment in the Internet cultural sector with both state and private funds.
Meanwhile, existing laws and regulations on news and publishing will be extended to cover the management of online media, according to the document.
"The licensing mechanism on sources of online news should be improved, while management over news gathering and reproduction qualifications should also be strengthened," it said.
The outline also vowed to set up a sound system for online copyright.
Aiming to ensure a good order for communication, the government will intensify management over search engines, instant messaging tools and news Apps and clarify operators' responsibilities for the content disseminated via microblog or WeChat, it said.
It also promised severe punishment for online rumors, harmful information, news extortion, as well as fake news, fake media institutions and fake journalists.