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Call for open hearings
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The official hearing into roaming fee charges for mobile phones should be broadcast live via television and radio for the public's benefit, says an article in Beijing News. The following is an excerpt:

Beijing Consumer's Association in its quest to have mobile roaming fees dropped made it loud and clear what should come of the hearing into the issue by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Information Industry - and how the hearing should be conducted.

It proposed that the hearing be broadcast via television and radio stations to ensure transparency.

Mobile roaming fees have concerned many consumers. The inquiry should allow the public to have a clear understanding of and enable full participation in the decision-making process.

The Beijing Consumer's Association, it seems, has struck a chord with many mobile phone users because hearings, traditionally, have been held behind closed doors, with even the names of participants kept secret. Closed-door hearings go against the purpose of what hearings are meant to achieve.

A hearing is meant to ensure transparency of government actions and strengthen the equality of law.

"Openness" can be deemed the symbol of a hearing; and a live broadcast is undoubtedly the best way to demonstrate that openness.

A live broadcast of a hearing will ensure the decision made by the government is more convincing.

It is good for the public to have an all-around knowledge of the decision-making process to eliminate any doubts in the process, and ease resisting sentiment from the public.

(China Daily January 10, 2008)

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