Hong Kong to Review Obscenity Law

Tod Hunter
HONG KONG — Hong Kong's government has begun reviewing its laws governing obscene material in a public process that is expected to continue through January.

The review will help shape measures to improve the regulation of obscene and indecent material distributed over various media platforms, said Gregory So, undersecretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the government of Hong Kong.

Public opinion surveys and an online discussion forum will be used to gather opinion for the review, and area representatives will be invited to participate in focus group discussions.

The current Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance was enacted in the late 1980s. So told reporters that it generally reflects the government's longstanding policy to preserve the free flow of information and safeguard freedom of expression while at the same time protecting the young and impressionable. So added that the review was necessary to ensure that the law can meet the community's changing needs.

The topics for consideration and possible revision in the law review include the definitions of obscenity and indecency, the adjudicating system, the classification system, regulation of new forms of media, enforcement and penalties, and publicity and public education.

The Hong Kong government plans to use information from the review process to prepare proposals for a second round of public consultation in 2009.