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Regulation on trial reporting released
Published on: 2009-12-24
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The media's lawful right to supervise trials in court should be guaranteed, but malicious or intentionally false reporting of a case will have legal consequences, the Supreme Court said yesterday.

The court suggested lower courts should be more receptive to criticism from the press. It also said the press should be more responsible and self-disciplined in reporting trials, in a document titled Regulations on People's Court's Acceptance of Supervision by the Press.

The document requires courts at various levels to provide assistance and support to journalists requests, and establish a method of communicate with the press.

The Supreme Court also drew a red line for the press, listing five situations in which journalists could be ethically criticized or even charged, including undermining national security, jeopardizing the authority of law and distorting facts.

Impartiality as well as objectiveness are the most essential qualities in reporting legal cases, the document said.

A recent trial of a famous lawyer who was accused of perjury in Chongqing's crackdown of gangs exemplified how a report can affect public opinions.

In a story published in China Youth Daily, lawyer Li Zhuang was described as an accomplice of a suspected mafia gang boss.

Li was immediately criticized by netizens.

However, people in the law field argued the depiction of Li as an accomplice showed either the reporter's absence of legal knowledge or deliberate defamation.

The court said it hopes that the new regulations could confine some journalists from distorting or fabricating facts.

The Supreme Court held a news conference yesterday to answer netizens' concerns, which suggests the country's court system has been endeavoring to enhance its openness and transparency.

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