China Needs Law on Press Supervision: Lawmaker

A lawmaker from northeast China's Jilin Province has called for the enactment of a law on press supervision to curb the rampant violation of journalists' right to make investigative reports as well as prevent malpractices of "corrupt reporters."

"A mature and complete supervisory system is needed by every society, but such a system is not fully established yet in China," said Wang Weizhong, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the Chinese legislature which is holding its annual full session in Beijing.

The enactment of the press supervision law is conducive to strengthening public supervision on social evils and other problems, and can also help regulate the supervision practice by the country's journalists, said Wang.

"I frequently learned about incidents in which journalists doing investigative reports or trying to expose social evils encountered various kinds of obstructions and were even beaten savagely. Meanwhile, there are also cases in which some immoral reporters try to blackmail individuals or companies with threats of 'negative exposures,'" Wang noted.

According to Wang, the press supervision law he proposed shall make explicit stipulations to guarantee the journalists' right to be informed of and cover news events, as well as to made investigations -- sometimes by secret means.

"Those who try to prevent the journalists from reporting the truth, especially those who resort to violence, should be severely punished on charges of obstructing public supervision and denying the people the right to know," said Wang.

The law should also define a "bottom line" for the professional ethics of the journalists engaging in making investigative reports and press supervision, said the lawmaker.

"Any reporter who seeks personal benefits from press supervision or fabricates reports without substantial investigation or information verification should not only be expelled from the journalistic circle forever, but also be subject to legal punishment," he suggested.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2006)


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