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Govt duty to update websites

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-14 07:25

Govt duty to update websites

The website of a Chinese county-level government. [Photo/IC]

Dong Haifeng, head of the business bureau of Danzhou, a city in South China's Hainan province, was recently given an administrative demerit and warning for not updating the bureau's website in a timely manner. It is reportedly the first case of an official being held accountable for failing to keep a government website operational and up to date.

Dong's punishment is by no means a case of the authorities making a fuss over a "trivial affair". The official websites of governments serve as an important channel for communication between the government and the public, and for ordinary people they offer a way to learn more about government affairs and express their views.

For government departments, running their official websites well is therefore an important duty, as it is part of government transparency.

Well aware of the role governments can play, as well as the numerous problems they face, the central government has repeatedly stressed the need for improvements. As early as 2014, the General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline document urging rectification of substandard government websites within a set time limit and it has made similar efforts in subsequent years. However, due to the absence of an enforceable accountability system, no substantial effects have been achieved.

The General Office of the State Council, recently published the results of the fourth spot-check of government websites nationwide conducted in 2016, in which many government websites were confirmed as being substandard.

The central authorities have repeatedly stressed that an official should first be a responsible person. A responsible official will realize the importance of website construction, given that it is not only the requirement from the authorities, but also an expectation of the public that they are supposed to serve. A service-oriented government should give due attention to its websites.--Beijing Youth Daily

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