China has backtracked on a decision that could have made it tougher for journalists to report on riots, disasters and other emergencies, state media said Monday.
Legislators revised the draft emergency response law after heated debate evolved over a passage warning media of steep fines for “irregular” or “fraudulent” reports, according to the China Daily.
The earlier version of the law, tabled in June last year at the National People’s Congress — or legislature — had warned of fines of up to 100,000 yuan (13,000 dollars) if the reports led to “serious consequences,” the paper said.
This triggered concerns among some lawmakers that local governments could use the law to cover up disasters that might reflect badly on them, such as mining fatalities caused by poor safety measures. [Full Text]
See also a comment on the law from the Time China blog.