Media Law Roundup: July 12th

China likely to lift 13-year ban on video game consoles

China is likely to lift a 13- year ban on the sale of video game consoles on the condition that the consoles are manufactured within Shanghai’s new free trade zone.  In 2000, several government ministries together issued a ban on the sale of consoles in China, citing the potential harm to the mental health of Chinese youth from the games. Should the ban be lifted, any foreign companies who choose to register in the Shanghai free trade zone to produce and sell video game consoles would still need to seek approval for their product by the Ministry of Culture.

Greek public broadcasting back on air

One month after the Greek government shut down public broadcaster ERT and weeks after a top Greek court ordered the government to reopen some form of public broadcasting, Greek public television came back on with the broadcast of an old Greek movie. Deputy minister responsible for public TV Pantelis Kapsis announced the network would air documentaries and a news ticker, until an official new program is established in a few months and said that there would be an open- call for journalists to create a new slimmed- down staff team. Press unions were angered that the temporary programming was broadcast from a private studio and that the government does not plan to rehire original ERT staffers who were left jobless. Unions called the broadcast “unconstitutional and undemocratic” and trade unions representing journalists called a five- hour strike in protest.

Iraqi Parliament Puts Controversial Media Law on Hold

On July 7, the Iraqi Council of Representatives did not vote to enact two controversial laws: the Communications and Media Commission of Iraq (CMC) law, and the information crimes law.  Currently, the CMC, overseer of telecommunications sector and satellite broadcasts, works in accordance with law prepared by US civil administrator Iraq after 2003. The new CMC law was an attempt to draft a new Iraqi law; however, head of CMC Safeddine Rabi announced, “The request to withdraw the CMC law came after the journalists’ remarks on the draft law, (who claimed that the law) restricts the freedom of the press.” Similarly, Iraqi journalists criticized the proposed information crimes law as too restrictive.

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