China: Blame The Easiest Party, Not Those Actually Guilty

from the one-way-to-do-things dept

One of the common themes we’ve discussed around here a lot lately is why any website is not liable for the content posted by their users. It would, effectively, grind the internet to a halt. After all, you would have to monitor everything that every one put on the site — which makes the participatory nature quite limited. However, the reason many people like to go after these sites is because it’s “easier.” It’s an easy target, even if they’re not the actual party responsible. Luckily, the US has been pretty good about making sure that the platform is protected. It appears China has gone in a different direction, with a blog hosting firm being found liable for some content posted on one of their blogs about a professor. It doesn’t even sound like the content is actually libelous — as it was simply criticizing him, not necessarily lying about him. However, as the professor notes, in China it appears that “personal dignity outweighs freedom of speech.” Obviously, China can set up their legal system however it wants, but it still seems somehow wrong to blame a tool for the content that someone else put on it.

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Comments on “China: Blame The Easiest Party, Not Those Actually Guilty”

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MrHoeCakes says:

Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure someone will) but I thought China had begun moving in the direction of increasing freedoms and various civil rights? Was that all just politics?

As to the matter of nailing the blog hosting company instead of the actual person who made the post, well, that is obviously wrong. But then this is the same country that blocks certain searches, right?

scottbp (user link) says:

US law is actually unusual in this. Most legal systems actually seem to blame the publisher (as in the website) rather than a commenter or contributor.

Here in Australia we are always having to be careful to avoid opening ourselves up to liability.

There are times when I would love to have some of your American laws

The only difference though is that here we worry about being sued, in China, it is the government and they are not shy about, erm… persuing their own agenda

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