The Cyberspace Administration of China ("CAC") has recently issued the Provisions on Governance of the Network Information Content Ecology (the "Provisions"), and it will take effect from March 1, 2020.
The Provisions point out that network information content producers are encouraged to produce, reproduce and publish the positive information, such as "contents of revealing highlights of economic and social development and reporting the hard work and affluent life of the people". Meanwhile, network information content producers shall not produce, reproduce or publish any illegal information, such as information that "undermines national security, divulges state secrets, subverts the state power or jeopardize the national unity", and shall take measures to prevent and resist the production, reproduction and publication of the adverse information, such as "overstated headlines that are significantly inconsistent with the contents".
The Provisions also require that network information content service platforms shall fulfill their primary responsibilities for management of information contents, strengthen the governance of the network information content ecology on their respective platform, and create a positive, healthy and amicable network culture.
Furthermore, the Provisions point out that network information content service platforms shall not disseminate any illegal information specified in Article 6, and shall take precautions against and resist the dissemination of any adverse information specified in Article 7.
Article 6 The Internet information content producers shall not produce, reproduce or publish any illegal information containing the following contents:
1. violating the basic principles established by the Constitution Law;
2. endangering national security, disclosing State secrets, subverting State power and undermining national unity;
3. damaging the honor and interests of the State;
4. distorting, vilifying, desecrating and denying heroic martyrs and their deeds and spirit, insulting, slandering, infringing upon the name, portrait, reputation or honor of a hero martyr by or other means;
5. promoting terrorism and extremism, inciting n terrorism and extremism activities;
6. inciting national hatred and discrimination, and undermining ethnic unity;
7. undermining the State's religious policies and promoting cults and feudal superstitions;
8. disseminating false information and disrupting economic and social order;
9. disseminating obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, murder, terror or abetting crimes;
10. insulting or slandering others and infringing upon their reputation, privacy and other legitimate rights and interests; and
- containing other contents prohibited by laws and administrative regulations.
Article 7 The Internet information content producers shall take precautions against and resist the produce, reproduce or publish any adverse information containing the following contents:
1. using exaggerated headlines, with contents which are seriously inconsistent with the headlines;
2. over-hyping gossip, scandals and misdeeds;
3. improperly commenting on natural disasters, major accidents and other disasters; promoting lifestyles such as ostentation of wealth, worship of money, luxury and corruption;
4. containing sexual suggestiveness, sexual provocation and sexual temptation;
5. showing bloodiness, thrilling, etc. which cause physical and mental discomfort;
6. inciting group discrimination, regional discrimination, etc.;ridiculing and joking about natural disasters, major accidents and other disasters;
7. displaying vulgar, crude and low content;
8. It may cause minors to imitate unsafe behaviors, violate social morality, induce minors' bad habits, etc
9. containing other contents that endanger Internet ecology.
The Provisions clarify the legal responsibilities of network information content producers, service platforms and the users. It has also improved the systematic provisions among civil, administrative and criminal legal responsibilities. Those who violate these provisions and cause damage to others shall bear civil liability in accordance with law; those who cause a crime shall bear the criminal liability in accordance with law; those who do not constitute a crime shall be punished by the relevant applicable departments in accordance with the provisions of relevant administrative laws and regulations.
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