Make my news China-safe!

Macworld: News: China issues new regulations for Internet news:

The Chinese government announced on Sunday a new set of regulations intended to tighten control over news reported on the Internet, but it was not immediately clear what, if any, effect the new regulations will have.

Immediate implications: Negotiations will begin between U.S. search companies and the Chinese government, seeking an “acceptable content” agreement, which misses the ultimate point of information access—finding information is secondary to having the truth available for citizens who need full access to information in order to make informed decisions as citizens. When search is unequivocally on the user’s side and not simply pursuing the corporation’s interests, it will be “media” in the full sense of an irreplaceable social institution.

Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

5 thoughts on “Make my news China-safe!”

  1. Hi Mitch. Question for you. Do you have information from search companies that they are planning to enter into direct negotiations with the Chinese government? Or is this just your analysis? I’m hearing a range of takes on how pre-existing stuff will get handled on the ground.. seems like it’s not yet clear.

    As for your larger point, I agree with you, though as far as the Chinese government is concerned, making unfiltered “truth” available to citizens is not the goal. Keeping the Communist Party in power is.

  2. Rebecca—We know that these negotiations have happened in the past, as Google and MSN (particularly MSN Spaces) are known to have filtering arrangements with the Chinese government, as installed on proxy servers for the services, in order to gain access to the market.

    So, I am assuming that, per established practice, this announcement of new rules by the Chinese Communist Party will lead to renegotiation—likely leading to more restrictive filtering—with the major search companies. What I think we are seeing is a process of negotation, first in public with these policies, then in private with the companies, who could push back far more than they do, but because there is nobody like a statesman at any of these companies, the Chinese get their way.

  3. I think we’re saying the same thing, as we agree on the way China works. I’m looking at the process as a way of saying that the American companies are not up to pushing back with the dedication to freedom that we could expect from a democratic statesman.

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