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SCIT speaks about complaints against obscene and indecent articles

Following is the transcript (English portion) of the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (SCIT), Mr Joseph W P Wong, speaking to the media today (May 19) on the complaints against obscene and indecent articles:

SCIT: I just want to make it very clear that for so long as we have a legislation which governs obscene and indecent articles, it is the responsibility of the Government, it is the responsibility of the executive arm of the Government which in this case is TELA (Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority), to administer the law and if he considers appropriate to refer particular publications to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for a ruling. I want to emphasise that the Tribunal is part of the judicial system. It is an independent system. If people are not happy with whatever decisions taken by the Tribunal, there are steps and procedures within the judicial system to follow up the matter, and to ask for a full hearing or to go to further appeal mechanisms. The whole essence of the legislation is really to determine what articles, pictures, publications, would be regarded as obscene or indecent to a reasonable person. And that is the criteria which we will use, which we have used and will continue to use in administering the law. No doubt, this is also a criteria and other provision in the law which the judicial system, in this case the Tribunal, will form its opinion and will make a ruling. It is important that we should look at this in this spirit. It is therefore important TELA has issued a statement recently that for example religious documents, literature which have been in the public domain for a long time, which have been accepted by the public as indeed valuable documents, documents which are generally accepted, obviously would not form any basis for making referrals to the Tribunal. Similarity it is also the judgment of TELA, which they would have to make from time to time not to refer frivolous complaints to the Tribunal. As I say I would like the debate to continue. We relieve in a diversified society so people are entitled to their views as to what constitutes obscene or indecent articles. What are the limits? No doubt in any civilised society there is always a limit. You cannot look at this without limit. And a limit is what is a reasonable person thinks about this particular picture or this particular article. But I hope the debate will continue on a rational basis and really urge members of the public would not put in various complaints which to the majority of people and may be to the complainant himself or herself really do not constitute absence or indecent elements.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

Saturday, May 19, 2007