Implementation Regulations on the Licensing of Internet News Information Services(Mainland China)

James Cheng
On May 22, the State Internet Information Office promulgated the Implementation Regulations on the Licensing of Internet News Information Services (the “Implementation Regulations”), which came into effect on June 1, 2017. According to the official-in-charge at the State Internet Information Office, the Implementation Regulations seeks to further refine relevant provisions under the Regulations for the Administration of Internet News Information Services, enhance the regulatory and scientific level in the licensing of Internet news information services, as well as promote their healthy and orderly development.
The Implementation Regulations consist of 18 articles, in which Articles 1 through 3 set out the basis for the objectives, the scope of application and service category; Articles 4 through 8 stipulate requirements for licensing conditions, the application materials and the security assessment of Internet news information services; Articles 9 through 11 contain requirements for the acceptance, review and decision regarding license applications; Articles 12 through 16 cover the conditions for revision, renewal and revocation of a license; Article 17 contains supervision and oversight requirements such as random inspections and evaluations; and Article 18 stipulates the effective date.
The Implementation Regulations focused on the following items in reference to the Regulations for the Administration of Internet News Information Services: First, specific categories are set out for Internet news information services, and for each category, the concept, licensing conditions and application materials are further detailed to improve their operability. Secondly, more details are provided with respect to application materials from corporate persons in response to scenarios such as the restructuring of state-owned entities into enterprises and demutualization reform to ensure better security for capital and information. Thirdly, it is specifically stipulated that a communications platform service provider should establish a comprehensive platform account and subscriber management system, subscribers’ agreements, a complaint-handling mechanism, etc. to avoid ambiguous demarcation of responsibilities and inadequate implementation of supervisory measures. Fourthly, additional details are stipulated with respect to the security assessment requirements for Internet news information service organizations engaging in joint ventures or partnerships with foreign entities and vice versa. Fifthly, specific requirements concerning the conditions, materials and procedures for the revision, renewal and revocation of a license are put forward to further improve licensing exit mechanisms.
The promulgation of the Implementation Regulations is particularly significant in enhancing the licensing administration of Internet news information services and providing better services to administrative counterparts. All levels of Internet information offices are required to take more responsibility in handling regional administration and handle the licensing administration work in accordance with the law. Internet news information service providers are required to strictly perform their main responsibilities, promote the sound development of all regulations and systems, continuously enhance their team-building efforts and provide news information services pursuant to law.