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China 26 June 2007

Government backs down on legislation to censor coverage of emergencies

Reporters Without Borders hails a decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to withdraw article 57 from a draft law on crisis situations, which would have imposed heavy fines on news media that published news reports about national emergencies without permission. The decision was reported by the government news agency Xinhua on 24 June.

The article, which would have introduced a new censorship mechanism, had been sharply criticised both in China and abroad.

"Adopting a law on crisis situations is not a bad thing in itself, but it is unacceptable to turn such a law into an instrument of censorship. We call on the national assembly not to approve this bill as it stands", Reporters Without Borders said in a press release a year ago, on 26 June 2006.

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