A spokesman system has been established in all Chinese higher courts and the
Supreme People's Court (SPC) to enhance the transparency of judicial work, SPC
President Xiao Yang said Tuesday.
"We have now 65 spokesmen for courts at the two levels, including two
spokesmen for the Supreme People's Court," Xiao said at a meeting about the
courts' publicity work.
Xiao said the establishment of the spokesman system will bring about
major changes in the courts' approach to news reporting and publicity work
and their work styles.
"With the spokesman system, the courts will adopt a more positive attitude
towards news reporting and publicity work," said Xiao.
He said the courts will release information on important trials on their own
initiative. They will also release information to explain certain issues and
The system also irons out the possibility of random interviews
without the court approval.
"All the important information will be released by the spokesmen. Other work
staff with the courts can only accept interviews after media's applications are
examined and approved by the court," Xiao said.
He stressed that judges should be particularly cautious with their words.
They should not receive interviews without authorization or air opinions over
important and sensitive issues on news media.
SPC Deputy President Cao Jianming listed several "forbidden zones" for the
courts. They are prohibited from releasing content related to state and
commercial secrets or trampling on individual privacy, Cao said.
The courts are also prohibited from releasing names, home addresses, photos
and other related information of defendants if they are minors.
The courts will make public only the rulings as well as basic facts and
reasons for cases not being given a public hearing, he said.
Statistics used in the trial of various criminal cases cannot be released
Court leaders must examine cases dealing with national security, ethnic
groups, religion, important emergencies, sensitive issues or involving
foreigners and residents from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao before they are
exposed to media, he said.
Those offering "improper" news sources to media and leading to a negative
impact will get severe punishment, he added.
Cao further stressed that media should not make predictions, comments or
conclusive opinions ahead of due judicial processes while covering cases.
The media should be responsible for the accuracy of the facts, evidence and
laws cited in their reports, he said.
Xiao Yang said intermediate people's courts and grass-roots courts should
also establish the spokesman system if they have the conditions required to
guide public opinions and "ensure the public's right to know".