Media regulation

Draft bill: Breaking news stories to be illegal

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Translated from a post by Fang Jun on the Mind Meters blog:

Nothing is too bizarre: Media reporting breaking news without authorization to be fined RMB 100,000

This morning I got up and saw a piece of news that gave me a start: Media that report breaking news without authorization can be fined RMB 100,000.

This was a bill submitted to the 22nd Meeting of the 10th National People's Congress Plenary Session for initial consideration, and its meaning is very clear:

After an emergency or crisis in society, the government can enforce strict measures. If news media report breaking news on the handling of emergencies without authorization, or report false news, they could be fined between RMB 50,000 and RMB 100,000.

In addition, the draft bill also specifies, the people's government organizing the management of crises or implementing united leadership, must provide unified, accurate and timely information about the situation and development of the crisis, and manage media reports about the crisis, unless such information hinders the management of the crisis...

...Huh? So what are you going to report?

From my point of view, this rule is not very scientific, it does not have enough force. It should be RMB 100,000 a day, until the error has been recognized.

Wipe away the cold sweat, it's OK, it's just a draft bill.

Two of the comments on the post:

- To such a rule, you can only say one word: Fuck!

- It seems to me that they should add a clause: if citizens talk about such breaking news without authorization, they should be detained for 15 days, and fined RMB 50,000 to RMB 100,000...

After reading the last comment, newcomers to this website or to China may want to remind themselves that Chinese people do actually enjoy sarcasm.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter kyth for pointing to an egregious error in the original translation, since corrected.

UPDATE 2: China Radio International has a rather balanced article about the bill on their website, (link below):

Fang Xin, an NPC lawmaker, said the article needs second consideration, especially when the draft law fails to note what regulations are governing the media reports.

"In fact, once emergencies occur, it is usually the reporter's perseverance that lay bare the truth and encourage the government to take proper action," Fang said.

He Ken, another NPC lawmaker, said that he disagreed with writing into law that media who released the correct information could face heavy fines just because it was not authorized to do so.

"The journalism circle has its own rules," He said, adding that "media supervision", which he considered "very important", was "not strong enough" in China.

But he approved of the law that would result in reporters being fined for fabricating news stories.

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10万,that's 100,000

Doh! Thanks.

Fortunately, this bill is still very much in draft and I doubt it will ever become law. I never know what to do with draft bills on my site; there is a draft bill for both sides of just about everything and some of the bills that are considered on the "verge" of passage (equalizing the corporate income tax, antitrust, property reform) never happen, but still might. I take the path of least resistance and generally ignore them, though I think I may do something on the proposed labor law reform plan seeing as how that is looking so certain (until it's not).

An American friend of mine once said Chinese do not understand sarcasm. My American friend speaks Mandarin and often thinks the Americans are the only people who know how to be sarcastic. I told him that just because he couldn't understand Chinese sarcasm doesn't mean that we don't know how to be sarcastic. That's a stupid draft.

What does this mean for the 'Andy Lau / Faye Wong dead' newspaper sellers on the Beijing Subway?

just wondering, more for the sake of argument... since the draft law stipulates also that governing agencies have a responsibility to provide accurate and timely information on whatever crisis/emergency in question, would the failure to do so be a defense for news media charged with fines under the law?

Maybe this is aimed toward those Chinese reporters who made up interviews at the world cup? ha ha!

I propose that the breaking of sudden wind should be penalized too.

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