Top China financial media chief jailed for corruption

A woman walks at the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai in this 5 March 2015 file picture Image copyright Reuters
Image caption 21st Century was known for its aggressive reporting on China's financial world

A Shanghai court has jailed the former president of one of China's top financial media groups for corruption.

Shen Hao, who used to head the 21st Century group of financial newspapers and websites, was convicted of extortion and blackmail.

He was sentenced to four years in jail and fined 60,000 yuan ($9,500, £6,220).

China has been conducting a widespread crackdown on corruption, including in the financial and media industries.

A statement on the microblog of Shanghai Pudong New District Court said Shen had "committed the crimes of extortion, forcing transactions, embezzlement" and "self-gratification".

The group's chief financial officer Le Bing was also convicted of embezzlement and given a suspended sentence of two years.

Several journalists and executives at 21st Century have been arrested and accused of demanding payments from businesses for favourable coverage while publishing attacks on companies that refused to pay.

The practice of paying journalists for favourable coverage is seen as widespread in China.

But the arrests have also raised concerns of authorities using the crackdown to silence legitimate journalism.

21st Century owned the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper which was known for its aggressive reporting on the financial world. It has been shut down since the arrests.

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