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Internet Media Calls for Strengthening Self-discipline
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A majority of China's Internet-based media representatives have called for strengthening self-discipline in order to ensure a smooth and healthy ascent of the country's Web business, and to facilitate information dissemination.

Chief executives from China's overseas-listed Internet firms, and sector experts said at a seminar in Hainan that the fact that China is home to 111 million Internet-hooked population, the world's second largest after the United States, testifies to the effective and benign policies, that benefits its rapid development.

However, it remains an arduous task on their shoulders to continue to oversee and ferret out "illegal and harmful" information, typically obscene and pornographic content, that poisons the young and vulnerable, especially the children.

Experts and sector representatives have expressed the hope that the government should improve the legal framework to better guide its progressive growth. They said that some self-governing rules by the Internet firms on forbidding porn and illegal information have been well-received by the public.

Li Jiaming, director general of China Reporting Center of Illegal and Unhealthy Information, said his organ has received more than 240,000 reports from the public complaining illicit or irregular Internet-related content and acts, since its launch in June 2004. Of the total clues reported, 68.2 percent are porn related, and 8.15 percent about Web gambling and fraudulence.

Li said that the sole search for profits while neglecting the "social merits" of the long-cherished Chinese culture is despicable. The increasing requirements from the public for regulating the sector manifest that those illicit Internet activities must be brought under scrutiny.

Some website representatives said a responsible Internet outlet must implement self-discipline, always bear in heart the ultimate interests of the public and the state, and win the support of the netizens through providing high-quality content.

During the meeting, an experts group concerning Internet legal and moral education was set up, led by Professor Xiong Chengyu of the Tsinghua University. The Internet Information Service Commission has 171 members.

( February 25, 2006)

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