Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Chinese extend media restrictions to court officials

AP , BEIJING

China is extending its crackdown on the media to the courts, threatening punishment for court officials who leak information to reporters.

New rules forbid court officials from releasing information without approval about cases involving national security, ethnic groups, religion, important emergencies, unspecified "sensitive issues" or cases involving foreigners, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

Chinese courts usually refuse to release rulings, court dates and other details, and Xinhua didn't say how the new rules would tighten earlier controls. It didn't say what penalties court employees might face for unauthorized disclosures.

The rules come amid a government campaign to tighten control over Chinese media and Internet use. Dozens of journalists have been jailed and others fired after reporting too aggressively on corruption and other sensitive issues.

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