Websites have been barred from posting details of juvenile bullying cases in an effort to prevent the youngsters from being harmed again, under a rule issued by China’s Internet watchdog on June 30.
All media must make children’s rights a priority when they report on cases involving school bullying and may not violate the privacy of minors by releasing names, addresses, photos or other materials, the Cyberspace Administration of China said.
Obscene or violent photos and videos involving child bullying and other crimes involving minors are also barred from websites, and repetition of such news reports should be reduced, the agency said.
One such bullying case, involving an 8-year-old boy in Zhejiang province, led to public outrage after a violent video spread online. The video showed four middle school students beating the boy and burning him with cigarette butts.
The boy and his family are awaiting 90,000 yuan ($14,500) in compensation after he was detained and hurt by his fellow students in an abandoned building, China Radio International reported on June 27.
Reports on schoolground bullying are necessary to reflect the nation’s social problems, but detailed accounts of such incidents, like the video posted on the Web, are banned in order to prevent secondary damage to the victim and minor offenders, the administration said.
Web companies have been asked to promptly review and remove information that damages minors.
Those that do not abide by the rule will be warned and fined, it said.
The rule is mean “to protect the juveniles’ mental and physical health”, said the administration’s spokesman. All online enterprises should strictly enforce the rule as everyone has a duty to respect and protect minors’ rights, he said.