Xinhua News Agency

Internet news sites face tough new rule

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2002, 12:00am

Beijing yesterday unveiled a new regulation that will tighten control over the publishing of news on the Internet.

The new rule, which will come into effect next month, was outlined by Xinhua yesterday.

Operators of news portals will be required to exercise stringent control over their content.

For example, 'major items' will have to be submitted to the State Press and Publications Administration 'for reference'.

According to Xinhua, these 'major items' refer to news reports which may 'jeopardise national security [and] affect social stability'.

In addition, the regulation highlights the legal responsibility faced by operators of news portals.

It also stipulates that public apologies and corrections be published over incorrect reports 'to neutralise the [bad] influence'.

It specifically forbids news portals from promoting cults and superstitions.

It also clamps down on 'content which poisons young people's minds', Xinhua said.

In addition, the regulation stresses that news on the Internet must not undermine ethnic harmony, or promote gambling and violence.

It also requires operators of news portals to notify local news publication departments and the State Press and Publications Administration in Beijing of news items that contravene the regulation.

The rule authorises the news departments to fine the violators and in serious cases shut down the news portals.

China already has strict publishing rules in place. This latest move is seen as a step by the government to clamp down on the fast-growing industry.

The new rule, however, does not have the same legal status as full legislation. It was jointly promulgated by the State Press and Publications Administration and the Ministry of Information Technology as an interim regulation, indicating further amendments are in the pipeline.