LegCo Panel on Information Policy
List of outstanding items for discussion (1996-97)
(as at October 1996)

1. Review of legislation having an impact on press freedom

The review on legislation having an impact on press freedom is of grave concern to the Panel and was discussed on 3.10.94, 1.5.95, 25.7.95, 3.11.95, 1.12.95, 2.2.96, 8.3.96, 3.5.96 and 5.7.96.

The Administration has provided initial proposals relating to Article 23 of the Basic Law on treason and sedition through the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to the Chinese side in July 1995. The latest development was that the Official Secrets Bill and Crimes (Amendment) Bill were sent to the Chinese side of the JLG. The Crimes (Amendment) Bill also included secession and subversion. The Administration will report progress on the draft bills at the Panel meeting in October 1996.

The Law Reform Commission (LRC) has undertaken an independent study on interception of telecommunication and mail. A joint meeting with the Security Panel on the LRC Consultation Paper on "Privacy: Regulating Surveillance and the Interception of Communications" was held on 29.4.1996. The final report of the LRC on the issue has yet to be finalised. The Administration undertook to expedite the process of considering the final report when it is available. The Administration will report the latest development at the Panel meeting in October 1996.

2. Display of publicity materials in public places

Discussed on 3.4.95, 2.2.96, 3.5.96 and 7.6.96.

The Administration reported on the review of the existing policy and the vetting criteria for display of publicity materials in public places. The Panel’s deliberations on the subject were reported to the House Committee on 9.2.96. and 28.6.96.

The Administration would report progress on the pilot scheme to be launched in Wan Chai at the beginning of the 96/97 legislative session. Will report progress at a future Panel meeting.

3. Records management strategy

Last discussed on 7.6.96. The Administration has reported its latest progress on the implementation of Phase II of the Strategy at the June 1996 meeting. Will report again to the Panel in six months’ time (Dec. 96).

4. Access to government information

The progress of implementation of the Code on Access to Information was discussed on 11.4.96 and 5.7.96. There were still eight agencies to be brought under the Code’s ambit. The Administration is working towards the overall target of achieving full extension throughout the government before end 1996.

Access to government information via Internet was also discussed at the aforesaid meetings. The Administration will develop guidelines on how to make better use of the Internet to disseminate Government information and make the Laws of Hong Kong available through Internet. It will also examine the suggestions made at the meetings. The item will be discussed again at the Panel meeting in November 1996.

5. Proposed amendments to the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap. 371)

The proposed amendments have health as well as press freedom implications. Members agreed that a joint meeting with the Health Panel would be considered in the 1996-97 session.

6. Difficulties faced by local journalists working in China

Discussed on 3.11.95, 8.3.96 and 12.7.96. The Panel wrote to the Governor on 16.7.96 expressing deep concern about the difficulties faced by Hong Kong journalists working in China. The Administration was requested to urge the British Government to appeal to China to lift all reporting restrictions for Hong Kong reporters on assignment in China; to look after their welfare and to help them when they get into trouble. The Governor replied that the British Embassy in Peking had lobbied the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the difficulties faced by the reporters, and the Hong Kong Government was always prepared to assist them. The issue might be discussed again at a future Panel meeting.

7. Meeting with the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data

The Panel agreed to meet the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data after commencement of his appointment in August 1996. Will meet him at the Panel meeting in October 1996.

8. The Administration’s consultation paper on "Regulation of obscene and indecent materials transmitted through the Internet"

A joint meeting of the Information Policy Panel and the Recreation and Culture Panel was held on 22.7.96 to discuss the consultation paper with the Administration and deputations from the industry. The Administration was requested to report back to the Panels, if it intended to proceed with the proposals in the paper, after the consultation exercise which ended in August 1996.

9. The Case of XI Yang

Discussed at the Panel meetings on 3.11.95 and 3.5.96 and at the House Committee meetings on 19.4.96 and 3.5.96. In its reply letter to the Panel on 1.5.96, the Administration provided details of the points that had been expressed to the Chinese government in relation to XI Yang’s case and the occasions on which they were raised. A copy of the judgement of Mr XI’s case was obtained from his family. The Administration will report progress on the case to the Panel in October 1996.

Legislative Council Secretariat
October 1996

Last Updated on 20 August 1998