Careful what you retweet. New Chinese laws censoring tweets can land individuals in jail.
Yang Hui, a 16 year old from Zhangjiachuan, was recently locked up in a detention centre as one of his ‘false’ tweets on a Chinese microblogging site was retweeted more than the legal amount. Under new Chinese law:
…anyone whose message is retweeted more than 500 times on Chinese microblogs or is seen by more than 5000 online users can be subject to jail for up to three years if the original post turns out to be false.
Put simply, freedom of conscience demands that people are able to say things that are untrue without the state restricting expression. This includes being able to tweet something that turns out to be false.
If you think such government censorship is nothing new in China, you are correct. But if you think this kind of proposal would only be floated under a communist regime, you’re dead wrong.
The Finkelstein Review into media regulation, initiated by the Gillard government in 2012, recommended government-run media regulation of similarly successful bloggers. The review recommended that internet sites that had 15,000 hits per annum (a little over 41 hits a day) be subject to the proposed government media regulator that would be responsible for upholding standards including “accuracy.” Sound familiar?