Here is a story that merits some attention. It comes from Reuters:
BEIJING (Reuters) - China set new regulations on Internet news content on Sunday, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other Web sites, such as discussion groups.
"The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately.
The news agency did not detail the rules, but said Internet news sites must "be directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests."
Established news media needed permission to run a news Web site, it said. New operators had to register themselves with government information offices.
China has a dedicated band of cyber police who patrol the Internet with the aim of regulating content. Postings that criticize the government or address sensitive topics are quickly removed.
Registration was a feature of rules imposed earlier this year aimed at not-for-profit Internet activities, such as personal Web sites and blogs.
Since March, university on-line discussion groups have been restricted to students, removing a once popular outlet for Chinese keen to publicize their views on sensitive issues. Student users and site managers must register using their real names."
Somehow this seems significant.
I have made jokes and cracks about the cyber police.
And I am often reminded of the presense of minders in this country.
But, this is the first time I have actually seen the words in print.
When you go buy your Chinese whatever tomorrow from your local Walmart, you might remember that that product comes from an environment from which all of their news sites must be directed toward serving the people and socialism.
Even though we generally think that there is plenty of freedom of the press in this country, there are a lot of stories that for one reason or another don't get much attention.
Project Censored features the 25 most important news stories not covered by the corporate media in 2004-05. Government Secrecy, Media Failures in Iraq, National Voter Fraud, Citizen Surveillance, and Environmental disasters are just some of this year's topics.
Here are the top ten.
#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
We talk a lot about freedom.
But talk is cheap.
Censorship is not.
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