Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(1) 1041/98-99
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)

Ref: CB1/BC/8/98/2

Bills Committee on
Film Censorship (Amendment) Bill 1998

Minutes of meeting
held on Friday, 22 January 1999, at 4:30 pm
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

Members absent :

Hon SIN Chung-kai

Public officers attending :

Mr Eddy CHAN
Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing

Miss Joanna CHOI
Principal Assistant Secretary (B), Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau

Assistant Commissioner (Entertainment), Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority

Mr J D Scott
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman, Department of Justice

Mr Lawrence PENG
Senior Government Counsel, Department of Justice

Clerk in attendance :

Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2

Staff in attendance :

Miss Anita HO
Assistant Legal Adviser 2

Miss Becky YU
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)3

I Clause-by-clause examination of the Bill
(Legislative Council Brief (Ref: ITBB(CR) 8/6/1(98) Pt. 3), LC Paper Nos. LS 68/98-99, CB(1) 741/98-99(02) to (04) and 781/98-99(01) to (03))

Before commencing discussion, the Chairman advised that pursuant to members' decision at the last meeting, the Bills Committee had issued letters to various organizations inviting their views on the Bill. These included film industry organizations and organizations which regularly submitted still films for censorship. Among those which had given their responses, they were all in support of the proposed amendment that slides of non-commercial nature were exempt from censorship. Members also took note of the Administration's response to concerns raised by members at the last meeting circulated vide LC Paper No. CB(1) 781/98-99(03).

2. Members then continued to examine the Bill clause by clause.

Clause 9. Submission for approval of advertising material

3. No particular comments were made on this clause.

Clause 10. Request for person aggrieved by exhibition of film to review decision of Authority or censor

4. The Chairman questioned the rationale for making appeals through the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting (SITB), instead of through the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) under the proposed sections 19(1)(ii) and 19(2). The Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing (C for T&EL) explained that at present, any person who was aggrieved by exhibition of a film could request the Board of Review to review the decision of the Film Censorship Authority (the Authority) or a censor by giving a notice to CS who might, where appropriate, refer through SITB to the Board the decision to which the request related. The proposed amendment was purely technical to simplify the review procedure so that the person concerned could send his request for review to SITB direct.

5. As regards the use of the Chinese expression under the proposed
section 19(2A), the Senior Government Counsel remarked that this was normally used for
describing a proceeding that was not made in good faith and was made without sufficient grounds
for the purpose of causing annoyance or embarrassment, and that it was commonly used as a
Chinese equivalent for the English expression "frivolous or vexatious".

Clause 11. Authority may issue replacement certificates

6. No particular comments were made on this clause.

Clause 12. Regulations

7. On the rationale for repealing sections 29(1)(c), (e), (h), (hb), (hc) and (k), PASITB (B) advised that these were consequential amendments to take account of the change in proposed section 29B, under which the Authority was empowered to determine forms.

8. Mr MA Fung-kwok expressed concern that the terms "videotapes" and "laserdiscs" in sections 29A(1)(a) and (c) might not be capable of dealing with new forms of media, such as VCD, DVD and CD-ROM. He was of the view that a more updated term, say audio-visual carrier, was required to encompass all different forms of visual moving images. The Assistant Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing (Entertainment) clarified that under section 2(1), a film referred to a videotape or laserdisc and included any sound-track associated with such videotape or laserdisc; as well as any record of visual moving images that was capable of being used for the subsequent screening of those images and any sound-track associated with such record. Legal advice had also been sought which confirmed that the term "laserdisc" would include VCD, DVD and CD-ROM. There was therefore no urgent need for making further amendments at the present stage. He nevertheless assured members that the Administration would keep in view of the development in audio-visual technology and consult the trade if amendments were considered necessary in future. At the Chairman's request, C for T&EL undertook to relay Mr MA's view to SITB for consideration with a view to addressing the issue during the Second Reading Debate of the Bill.

    (Post-meeting note: Having considered members' views, the Administration had reviewed the Ordinance and proposed further technical amendments to sections 9(3A), 13(4C) and 29A(1)(a) to keep abreast with the advancement in technology.)

Clause 13. Section added

9. No particular comments were made on this clause.

10. In reply to the Assistant Legal Adviser 2's question on Part II of Schedule 5 of the Film Censorship (Amendment) Regulation 1998 attached to the Legislative Council Brief (Ref: ITBB(CR)8/6/1(98) Pt. 3), the Principal Assistant Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting (B) confirmed that under section 8(3), the Authority might refuse to accept a film submitted for censorship if it had been classified under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance.

11. As members had completed scrutiny of the Bill, the Chairman advised that a report on the deliberations of the Bills Committee would be submitted for consideration by the House Committee at its meeting on 5 February 1999. Subject to Members' views, the Second Reading Debate of the Bill would be resumed on 10 March 1999.

II Any other business

12. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 5:10 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
26 March 1999