Anti-rumor campaign reinforces the rule of law

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-28 1:23:01

Fu Xuesheng, president of Shanghai LabInfo Technologies Ltd, has been detained by Shanghai police for fabricating online rumors that a female executive at Sinopec accepted sexual bribery from a US supplier. Meanwhile, Liu Hu, a journalist suspected of blogging rumors has been detained as well. A determined police campaign against rumors continues.

Many netizens are expressing their support for this move to clean up rumors. Resisting rumors is a bottom line for any rational society. And it is natural that the cyber community should also follow this value.

But meanwhile, there are also suspicions and opposition against these police actions, which say that this rumor crackdown represents a strike against a free cyberspace. Among the opponents, some see rumors as a powerful tool to "force the authorities to speak out the truth," whereas others see online rumor-mongers as a strong force to shake the current system.

Various social and political factors are mirrored in the ongoing debate over online rumors. But one consensus should be indispensable - the authority of the law should be fostered on the Internet, and every netizen, regardless of personal desires, has to speak within the legal framework.

Police authorities should firmly strike rumor-mongers based on law, despite some shrill opposing voices. There is a "silent majority" who advocates order in cyberspace. As long as the clampdown on online rumors continues unswervingly, more netizens will stand out to oppose extreme voices, and hence the online atmosphere will gradually change.

The "rule of law" principle should be strictly upheld in strikes against rumor fabricators. With both experiences and lessons from the past, China is capable of ensuring fairness and justice in strikes against rumors.

The Bo Xilai case, which attracted worldwide attention, is a good example of strictly following the rule of law. We suggest choosing a couple of typical online rumor-mongering cases and conducting transparent trials, thus letting the public fully understand their wrongdoings and the logic behind the punishments.

Fundamentally, mainstream information channels should be more smooth and transparent, which will automatically inhibit rumors online. This will only be achieved after gradual reforms. Timely strikes against rumors will be necessary.

These strikes aim to not only restrain rumor-mongering, but more importantly, foster healthier values in the cyber community. The second goal calls for more collaboration. The Internet has developed in China for over a decade, and it is facing a key moment of breaking old barriers and opening a new chapter.

Posted in: Observer

blog comments powered by Disqus