Monday, June 26, 2006

"Toto, Perhaps We're In Beijing Now..."

Get this: In China Government turns screw on mass media and social revolts:

The National People's Congress Standing Committee has decided that media agencies breaking news “on emergencies in the country” without authorization will face fines ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 yuan [from 5,000 to 10,000 euros]. The decision is part of a draft law being reviewed by the executive body.

Emergencies listed by the law include: natural disasters, accidents, public health crises and “social security crises”, such as protests and clashes between farmers and local officials, which are on the rise.

but before you tut-tut, get a load of this:

GOP Congressman Calls for Criminal Charges Against 'NYT'
Appearing on Fox News, (Rep. Peter)King (R-NY) said, "The time has come for the American people to realize, and the New York Times to realize, we’re at war and they can’t be on their own deciding what to declassify, what to release. If Congress wants to work on this privately, that’s one thing. But for them to, on their own, for the editor of the New York Times to say that he decides it’s in the national interest -- no one elected them to anything.

And the Times replied:
We weighed most heavily the Administration's concern that describing this program would endanger it. The central argument we heard from officials at senior levels was that international bankers would stop cooperating, would resist, if this program saw the light of day. We don't know what the banking consortium will do, but we found this argument puzzling. First, the bankers provide this information under the authority of a subpoena, which imposes a legal obligation.

Second, if, as the Administration says, the program is legal, highly effective, and well protected against invasion of privacy, the bankers should have little trouble defending it. The Bush Administration and America itself may be unpopular in Europe these days, but policing the byways of international terror seems to have pretty strong support everywhere. And while it is too early to tell, the initial signs are that our article is not generating a banker backlash against the program.

I don't normally like to get political, but it really seems that the Bush administration, with the help of Australian Rupert Murdoch's Fox News is getting more aggressive about wanting to take away our right to a free press. They're pushing all the right buttons about "national security." But what does Murdoch or Fox care about the freedom of the press in the U.S. or "national security"? About as much as they care about teenagers on

1 comment:

ChinaLawBlog said...

China's media clampdown law is still in the proposal stage and the way things work in China, the longer it stays in that stage, and the more it is talked about, the less likely it is to be enacted. The silver lining in all of this is that this proposed law is increasing Chinese importance of press freedom. If this law ends up not being enacted (and I think that is a real possibility) its proposal and subsequent failure will end up being a good thing for freedom of the press in China.