Clerk to the Panel on Information Policy
Provisional Legislative Council
(Attn : Mr Colin Chui)

Dear Colin,

Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Information Policy
Meeting on 22 August 1997

In my letter of 22 August, I provided information on refusals under the Code on Access to Information. I also undertook to reply in slower time to other questions raised under item I of the agenda. Taking those seriatim -

  1. Legislative Council Bill (paragraph 5 of the minutes): the Constitutional Affairs Bureau has uploaded the Bill (both Chinese and English versions) onto the Internet. Members will be able to find this at under the heading "What's new" and "Topical Information"
  2. inclusion of press freedom in the government public opinion survey (paragraph 13 of the minutes): the purpose of the survey is to discover whether the public considers that there are any problems in Hong Kong, what those problems (if any) are, and how people rate Government's efforts to tackle them. Using the survey to seek public opinion on specific issues would defeat that purpose by 'prompting' people to regard particular issues as matters about which they should feel concern even if, in fact, they do not. The questions asked in the survey are carefully designed to find out what people really are concerned about. Thus, if the public considered that a particular issue was becoming a matter of concern, the survey would detect that concern. So far it has not expressed concern about the state of press freedom. Only one of the 1, 099 respondents to the July survey even mentioned the subject. At less than 0.1% of the sample, this was insufficiently significant to register as an issue of concern to the general public.

Please let me know if you would like any additional information.

Yours sincerely,

(John Dean)
for Secretary for Home Affairs

c.c. DDHA(1)
Sr. Stat