The top legislature Sunday advanced legislation that would allow the media to
report on public emergencies without the government's authorization in a bid to
The draft emergency response law, tabled at the 28th session of the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for a second reading, requires
governments that take charge of emergencies to provide "unified, accurate and
timely information about the events and their developments".
Compared to the first draft, which included fines of as much as 100,000 yuan
($13,100) for media outlets that report on emergencies without authorization or
spread fabricated information, the second draft only bans the making up or
spreading of false information.
In his report to the standing committee, Wang Maolin, vice-director of the
NPC law committee, said the provision on restricting the media sparked heated
discussion among lawmakers during the draft's first review last June.
He said some legislators argued that it was improper to restrict media
reports, while some local people's congresses also questioned the restriction.
The people's congress in Dalian, Liaoning, said the expression "without
authorization" was ambiguous and could let local governments to cover up the
Local congresses in Chongqing Municipality and Hubei and Shandong provinces
also argued that transparency is a key part of handling emergencies and that the
media's contributions should be affirmed.
After considering the matter, legislators decided to eliminate the mention of
fines from the draft. It now stipulates that offenders will be warned, punished
or prosecuted. If their offences lead to serious consequences, their business
licenses will be revoked as well.