Miss. Senator Introduces ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness Act’ to Codify Disclosure Requirements for Paid Articles from Foreign Agents

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U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced the “Democracy Dies in Darkness Act,” legislation that would codify requirements for foreign agents to disclose prominently the foreign principal as the source of paid inserts placed in American news outlets, including those by the China Daily, an imprint of the Chinese Communist Party.

“It is an open secret that Beijing is waging a global propaganda war in the U.S., and American newspapers are complicit,” Wicker said. “It is rank hypocrisy for papers to have accepted millions for Communist propaganda while proudly declaring their commitment to democracy. I hope stronger disclosure requirements for foreign agents will encourage all American  publications to refuse to participate in the CCP’s propaganda machine.”

Over the past five years, some of America’s largest papers of record, including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, have taken more than $10 million combined from the Chinese Communist Party to reprint propaganda in U.S. newspapers.

The paid inserts placed by the China Daily, a state-owned media company, fulfill President Xi Jinping’s mandate from 2016: “Wherever the readers are, wherever the viewers are, that is where propaganda reports must extend their tentacles.”

The practice has been documented extensively, including by the Washington Post’s own journalists. A January 2020 article highlighted the CCP’s practice of paying for placement or “borrowing the boat to reach the sea” in prominent American newspapers.

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Release from Senator Roger Wicker,