Beijing: China has cancelled 14,455 press cards issued to journalists in a nation-wide crackdown on "bogus journalists".
A total of 216 illegal newspapers and magazines have been investigated, with 76 of them being suspended since the start of last year, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
Authorities have investigated 258 criminal cases involving fake journalists and confiscated over 1.5 million illegal newspapers and magazines, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) recently called for intensifying crackdown on "fake journalists and news" at a meeting of heads of top official media units, including the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, China Education Daily and major radio stations.
These media were urged to improve internal management and education for their staff and cooperate with press authorities to eliminate "black sheep" within their systems, a process aimed at "clearing the air" in the press circle, Xinhua reported, citing an official statement.
The public were encouraged to report illegal media and reporters through hotlines and online channels.
The call came as the official media tried to expand the scope of reporting to compete with the growing challenge from the social media, especially Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter used by over 300 million people. At the meeting, the department reiterated its resolution to wipe out fake and for-profit news.
The press watchdog announced a fresh crackdown on illegal journalistic practices last week, targeting online media and others who defraud or extort money by pretending to be journalists, as well as genuine media and journalists involved in illegal cases.