China to merge state media for stronger voice in financial news

An investor reads the finance section of a newspaper in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is set to consolidate five state media companies to create a “modern financial media group” to increase the state’s voice in economic and financial news coverage, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

Since taking power in 2012, President Xi Jinping, who has called for Beijing to take a bigger role in a global governance system, has stepped up media control and scrutiny to project China’s “soft power” and better communicate its message.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has given Xinhua permission to acquire and consolidate China Securities Journal, Shanghai Securities News, Economic Information Daily and Xinhua Publishing House and launch a new company under the banner China Fortune Media Corporation Group.

The move aims at “deepening the central authority’s reforms of the cultural system” and “increasing mainstream media’s influence in the area of financial information,” Xinhua said in a notice.

The new financial news-focused company will be launched in Beijing on Thursday next week, it said.

While visiting three major state news agencies in February last year, Xi ordered the organizations to strictly follow the Communist Party’s leadership and focus on “positive reporting”, Xinhua reported at the time.

“All news media run by the Party must work to speak for the Party’s will and its propositions and protect the Party’s authority and unity,” Xi was quoted as saying.

The three media Xi visited - Xinhua, People’s Daily and state-owned broadcaster CCTV - are considered by the central leadership as the “throat and tongue” of the party.

According to Xi, managing journalism and publicity is “crucial” for the party’s and implementation of its policies, Xinhua reported.

Reporting by Shu Zhang and Matthew Miller; Editing by Clarence Fernandez