52 web­sites probed for pub­li­ca­tion of porn, vi­o­lence

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s me­dia reg­u­la­tor an­nounced on Thurs­day that it will in­ves­ti­gate 52 web­sites on sus­pi­cion of pub­lish­ing on­line lit­er­a­ture that con­tains pornog­ra­phy and vi­o­lence.

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion an­nounced the cam­paign as part of its on­go­ing cam­paign to clean up the In­ter­net.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion said that the 52 web­sites in­clude Baidu Tieba, the largest Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form pro­vided by the Chi­nese searchengine com­pany Baidu Inc; and NetEase Blog, pro­vided by In­ter­net gi­ant NetEase Inc.

A pub­lic­ity of­fi­cer with Baidu Inc said on Thurs­day that the com­pany would not com­ment on the author­ity’s de­ci­sion.

The move is part of a cam­paign called “Clean­ing the Web 2014”, launched by the Na­tional Of­fice Against Porno­graphic and Il­le­gal Pub­li­ca­tions un­der the me­dia author­ity from April to Novem­ber to weed out il­le­gal con­tent and keep it out of the reach of chil­dren.

Other web­sites in­ves­ti­gated in­clude video-shar­ing web­site tu­dou.com and doc88.com, an on­line plat­form for shar­ing documents.

The author­ity said it will im­pose pun­ish­ments on the web­sites if the al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing pub­lish­ing con­tent that has vi­o­lence and pornog­ra­phy, are con­firmed.

Many of the web­sites pub­lished un­healthy “fairy tales” for chil­dren, with some bear­ing sim­i­lar names to the clas­sic Ger­man collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Among them was one collection called Hor­ri­fy­ing Grimms’ Fairy Tales, writ­ten by an on­line writer un­der the name of Tong­sheng­cao.

An on­line fo­rum on Hor­ri­fy­ing Grimms’ Fairy Tales at Baidu Tieba, which has run posts with com­plete sto­ries, was still ac­ces­si­ble at around 4 pm on Thurs­day.

But the fo­rum was quickly closed and all the posts were deleted one hour later.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 52 web­sites fol­lowed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in April into Sina In­ter­net In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice Co, one of China’s In­ter­net gi­ants, which was sus­pended from en­gag­ing in In­ter­net pub­li­ca­tion and au­dio and video dis­sem­i­na­tion for plac­ing porno­graphic con­tent on­line.

The author­ity later re­voked the two li­censes of Sina.com, in­clud­ing those for In­ter­net pub­li­ca­tion and net­work dis­tri­bu­tion of au­dio­vi­sual pro­grams, and fined the com­pany up to 5 mil­lion yuan ($800,000) for pub­lish­ing as many as 20 ob­scene ar­ti­cles in its read­ing chan­nel and post­ing four In­ter­net au­dio­vi­sual pro­grams that spread ob­scene in­for­ma­tion.

Ding Junjie, a me­dia pro­fes­sor at the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China, said on­line lit­er­a­ture is more dif­fi­cult to cen­sor due to the large num­ber of sources and the dif­fi­culty of ob­tain­ing ev­i­dence.

“The on­line plat­forms may never have meant to host such con­tent. But it is their duty to su­per­vise it,” he said.

Bu Wei, di­rec­tor of the Re­search Cen­ter for Me­dia and Chil­dren with the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said on­line ser­vice providers have obli­ga­tions to pro­tect their au­di­ences, es­pe­cially chil­dren, from un­healthy con­tents on­line, as is stated by the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child, an in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights treaty. Gao Yuan con­trib­uted to this story.

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