China: New Regulations Increase Control over Both Internet and Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK— Recently-released Chinese internet regulations represent the Chinese Communist Party’s newest attempt to assert control over both the media and the internet, said PEN America in a statement today.
On May 2, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s internet regulatory body, released new “Chinese Internet News Information Service Management Regulations.” The regulations, which represent an update from previous CAC rules, stipulate that only online news portals that are publicly funded and that have a government-issued license can legally publish original reporting or commentary, on issues ranging from the government to foreign affairs to social concerns. The regulations extend over all forms of online speech: from websites, to social media accounts, to blogs and instant messaging.
The regulations, which mandate that news service providers must “serve the cause of socialism” and “safeguard national and public interests,” also require that top editors for online news portals be approved by the government. Journalists for such online outlets, in addition, must undergo government assessment and accreditation. Online news providers who fail to comply can have their licenses revoked.
The newly-updated regulations are slated to take effect on June 1, 2017, the same day as China’s new Cybersecurity Law. The Cybersecurity Law, passed in November 2016, grants the government dramatically expanded access into information held by internet operators, on such grounds as national security and “societal public interest.”
“These updated regulations are just the newest effort by the CCP to ensure that the Party is the source for all news, all opinion, and all analysis,” said James Tager, PEN America’s Free Expression Programs Manager. “The wide range of applicability of these regulations—from online media, to blogs, to instant messaging—clearly demonstrates how China’s authorities are set in ensuring there is no online ‘safe harbor’ for independent news or commentary.”
PEN America, the literary and free expression advocacy organization, has long been engaged on advocacy against censorship in China, and for the rights of individual Chinese writers who have been imprisoned for their free expression. PEN America’s recent work on China includes its September 2016 report “Darkened Screen,” on Chinese governmental restrictions on foreign media.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
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