HK Journalists Fear Laws Will Restrain
By DAVID LAGUE IN
security laws pose a serious threat to freedom of
expression, with the mere enactment of the new
measures encouraging media self-censorship.
"That in effect would dampen expression of views and
media centre," the Hong Kong Journalists Association
said in a September 24 statement. "Secession and
subversion are not considered
other common-law jurisdictions. The introduction of
these new concepts would adversely affect freedom of
expression," it added.
One reason for sensitivity to the new measures among
local journalists is that many believe that, under
is already toning down its criticism of the mainland
government and its policies.
They argue that the implied threat from tougher laws
can only make things
general, Bob Allcock, insists these fears are groundless.
"If the proposals are enacted, freedom of expression
will continue to be fully
told the South China Morning Post newspaper in
defending the government's proposals.
Under the proposed sedition laws, the expression of
views and commentaries, or reports on the views of
others or events, would not be treated as crimes
unless they were intended to incite others to threaten
national security through the use of force or other
"Mere expression of views is not an offence," Hong
Kong's Secretary for Security Regina Ip told reporters
at a September 24 briefing. "We need to study the
intention. It depends on if one intends to incite
others to do something that will endanger national
Despite these assurances, journalists and civil
libertarians remain sceptical and have called on the
government to reconsider its proposed changes.