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China issues new rules limiting access to judicial information

[JURIST] China's Supreme People's Court [official website] has promulgated new rules aimed at preventing leaks of information regarding sensitive cases, and has established a system whereunder all court information will flow through court spokesmen, 65 of whom have already been appointed, according to a Wednesday China Daily report [text]. The report did not say how the new spokesman system would alter previous bans on the release of sensitive court information, nor did it detail the penalties now threatened for information leaks. A court spokesman said the new rules are aimed at increasing the transparency of judicial decision-making, though they explicitly ban spokesmen from discussing cases falling in certain "forbidden zones," including cases involving state and commercial secrets.

Announcement of the new court disclosure rules comes just days after China released new media regulations [JURIST report; text] restricting the domestic release of news and information by foreign news agencies. The regulations give China's official Xinhua News Agency [official website] ultimate rights of approval over the distribution and release of foreign news content in the country. AP has more.

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