With regard to press freedom, China regularly scores among the lowest across the entire Asian region. The government holds a tight grip on all media including the internet. Following the 2014 presidential election, the two main agencies that regulate and censor media were merged. The new General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is in charge of guidelines and policies for reporting and broadcasting. All media agencies need to obtain a license from the government which is only issued to those that prove to be in line with the CPC ideology. This in turn means that the media are merely a tool of party propaganda. Government-critical reporting is not only subject to massive censorship but can result in severe punishment. In 2014, several internet bloggers were
detained based on grounds of defamation after they exposed corrupt practices by government officials on the internet platform Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform.
Also several members of the New Citizens Movement, a group of grassroots activists that call for more government transparency were detained based on grounds of stirring public unrest. Foreign journalists have to obtain a special visa from the Chinese government. Visa applications of several New York Times correspondents were repeatedly refused following a 2012 report on the wealth of former premier Wen Jiabao and his family. The New York Times among several other major foreign news and networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are inaccessible from within China. But despite facing heavy regulations, the internet allows exchange of critical opinion to at least some extent in a technological arms race of Chinese netizens, trying to develop new tools, and Chinese government, aiming to control all online platforms and communication channels.