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Freedom Of Expression In Hong Kong Since 1997

3061 words - 12 pages

IntroductionBeing a region in which human rights are highly regarded and respected, Hong Kong has been trying her very best to protect the freedom of expression. Since the resumption of Chinese sovereignty, there have been worries that our long history of rule of law and autonomy would be threatened. In light of the recent Court of Appeal decision in Sing Tao Limited v So Wing Keung , the public's attention is drawn to the fact that freedom of expression may be undermined by the call for criminal investigation. Also, from the decisions of a number of constitutional cases and incidents, for instance, the Charter Garden incident and the Court of Appeal decision in Leung Kwok Hung case (which I will mention below), a "red signal" to our freedom seems to have shown.The status of the press and journalism is of paramount importance in Hong Kong. Being a "watch dog" of the events occurring in our dynamic society, its existence indirectly monitors and regulates the conduct of the public. Without it, our welfare may be undermined. This paper will focus on some constitutional cases and incidents to investigate and comment on the status of human rights and freedom enjoyed by Hong Kong citizens.Freedom of expression in Hong Kong since 1997The Hong Kong Bills of Rights Ordinance (HKBORO) came into effect on 8 June 1991, which for the first time introduced to the territory the active protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms by incorporating ICCPR as applied to Hong Kong. Moreover, after the changeover, the Basic Law further protects the aforesaid rights by making them constitutionally guaranteed . ICCPR is also incorporated in the domestic law of Hong Kong through the Basic Law . Article 19 of the ICCPR highlighted the protection of freedom of expression, which is reproduced in the HKBORO . As a result, the Basic Law and ICCPR provide dual protection of the fundamental human rights in Hong Kong.However, the protection of these rights is by no means absolute and is subject to restrictions. From the decision in Gurung Kesh Bahadur v Director of Immigration , it can be inferred that if a certain right is protected by the Basic Law and ICCPR at the same time, the minimum standard of restriction stipulated in the ICCPR should be followed. The situation would be different if it is only a Basic Law right. However, this does not concern us here since freedom of expression is protected both by the Basic Law and the ICCPR.Accordingly, Article 19(3) stipulated the permissible limitations. In addition to the "prescribed by law" requirement, the restriction has to be for respect of the rights or reputation of others, or for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. Also, the restrictive measures must be necessary and proportionate to the aims sought to be achieved.Ng Kung Siu caseThe limitation for the protection of public order has been the centre of controversy since the resumption of sovereignty. In...

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