Comment on "Don't shoot the message provider" (China Daily website, Dec 8)
I don't know how long it took Tencent to react, but I think the authorities have the responsibility to block immoral/dangerous messages from being sent to the public.
For example, take a man distributing pamphlets at a mall that encourage people to commit suicide. I don't know whether that is legal. But suppose police stop him from doing so only after a week - despite being informed on the first day - and someone commits suicide on any of the intervening days, the cops will be in hot soup for not responding in time.
As for free speech, leveraging on international wisdom, I copy part of an article headlined Prosecutor: Encouraging suicide not free speech on Yahoo: "A former Minnesota nurse charged with aiding the suicides of two people was not covered by free-speech protection when he sought out depressed people online and encouraged them to kill themselves, a prosecutor argued".
The next step would probably be to figure out what should and should not be covered. In the Tencent case, the company seems to be more like the cops I mentioned earlier.
A reader, on China Daily website
Readers' comments are welcome. Please send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or to the individual columnists. China Daily reserves the right to edit all letters. Thank you.