Media Mandarins Who’s Who

There is neither an Information Ministry nor a Media or Internet Ministry in China. This can easily be confusing for many people. Here’s a look at Who’s Who in the Chinese authorities in charge of media.

(Because of the complex nature of the Chinese political system, this list is far from complete! Everything in this list is ordered by the first letter of the alphabet)

SAPPRFT: State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television
(国家新闻出版广电总局, Guojia Xinwen Chuban Guangdian Zongju)
This mega-organ is the closest thing in China to a “Media Ministry”. The sprawling organisational octopus came together in March 2013, after the merger of the former GAPP (General Administration for Press and Publication) and the previous SARFT (State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television). The Internet is managed separately by the State Internet Office.
SAPPRFT is mainly in charge of, as it states, press, publication, radio, film, and TV. It has an official “alter ego” as the National Copyright Bureau.
In the CCP / PRC apparatus, ideology remains tightly controlled by the Communist Party. Thus, it is under the dual leadership of both the CCP’s Propaganda Department and under the PRC State Council.
SAPPRFT now occupies the former Broadcasting Mansion, first erected in the 1950s. It lies basically next door to China National Radio.

SIO: State Internet Office
(国家互联网信息办公室, Guojia Hulianwang Xinxi Ban’gongshi)
Detractors would call this the “Great Firewall Ministry”, since much of China’s Internet is censored, especially if heading to overseas social sites, and the closure of illegal websites is part of its duties as well (predictably). But it is also in charge of “building a legal Internet” and is charged with guiding, co-ordinating, and supervising government organisations over Internet content management.
Apart from content control, it is also in charge of games, video and publishing on the Internet, and is also in charge of planning, building, organising and liaising how key China-based news sites are operated. It also has supervisory business regarding telco companies and domain registrars.
It’s interesting to note that this office wasn’t even established until 04 May 2011, when, after being connected for around 25 years, the authorities finally “leapt to” the fact that the Internet was something that had to be governed in China.