Courts Move to Control Press Coverage of Legal Proceedings – Wang Feng et al (Caijing)

China’s government tightened the noose on newspapers once again with new rules revealed last month that allow courts to withhold a greater range of information from reporters. As with previous noose-tightenings, Caijing came out with a bold response, just now made available in summarized form on its English site:

It a major step backward for judicial transparency and freedom of the press, China’s highest court is seeking to dramatically restrict coverage of trials, giving itself broad discretion over what information courts are allowed to release to the public.

At a September 12 meeting, the Supreme People’s Court (ÊúÄÈ´ò‰∫∫Ê∞ëÊ≥ïÈô¢) gave itself the broad discretion to instruct lower courts not to release information regardless of its content, particularly in cases it determines are of “national importance.”

Courts will also not be allowed to release information in cases involving state or commercial secrets, or where there are personal privacy issues at play. They will be forbidden from releasing any internal documents, and in closed-door trials, they will only be allowed to publish the basic facts of the trial and their official decision. [Full Text]

See the original Oct. 2 editorial by legal scholar Fan Libo: 法院与新闻自由

October 12, 2006, 3:10 PM
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Categories: Law