The State Council told its key departments on May 7 to hold news conferences at least four times a year and said their heads must meet the media at least once annually.
Jiang Jianguo, minister of the State Council Information Office, stressed the importance of this at a working conference on the timely release of information.
He said that following an instruction from the leadership on improving government capability in responding to society’s concerns, the Information Office had issued instructions on the release of information.
Ministries in charge of affairs closely related to the economy and social concerns must meet the media at least once every quarter, according to the instructions.
Top officials of these departments are required to attend State Council news conferences at least twice every year, and department heads once every year.
Wang Zhongwei, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, said, “We are seeking trust and have vowed to advance the credibility of the Party and the government.
“Where do trust and credibility come from? The consensus around the globe is that trust starts from transparency and commitment.”
According to the notes of the meeting, the Information Office has asked ministries to invite foreign media to their news conferences.
Departments must ensure that calls are answered during office hours and also must strive to grant media applications for interviews, and explain if they cannot do so.
The office also asked for “assistance and support” for ministry spokesmen, saying occasional inappropriate expressions by spokesmen should be tolerated as long as they are not about key issues.
This is aimed at building a relatively easy working environment in which they feel free and willing to talk, according to the notes of the meeting.
To date, 25 ministries have established regular media conferences.
Zhang Xiaojun, spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, cited a recent case of the efficient release of information.
After the commission encouraged an increase in the supply of available shares on April 17, many investors saw the remarks as an attempt by the government to cool the rapid surge of Chinese stock markets.
The next day, the commission clarified its position that it did not want to interfere in the market, avoiding what many had predicted would be a sharp fall in shares on April 20.