The good folks at the Hong Kong-based web company Outblaze have posted a hilarious cartoon (above - click through to their website for a larger version) accompanied by a cleverly written blog post about Oiwan Lam's indecency case. Remember the case of the blogger who is facing a possible jail sentence and/or a crippling fine because she posted a photo containing exposed female nipples in a commentary on InMediaHK, a non-profit citizen-media website, in the context of a political discussion about Hong Kong's Obscene Articles Tribunal and indecency laws? The Outblaze editorial team concludes:
While the world laughs at Hong Kong, let us make an appeal for a bit more common sense to be deployed in this fair city. Let us stop being automatically terrified of nipples or other parts of the human body, particularly in artistic context. Let us treat the Internet as a new medium and realize that we cannot shoe-horn outdated laws to apply to new media, because they will fit extremely poorly in the new digital framework. Let us proclaim to the prudes: “if you don’t like, don’t look”. And, above all, let us reform and modernize TELA and OAT before we are forced to endure further silliness. Organs that are supposed to safeguard the public good – not oppress it – should be informed, open, and transparent, and neither TELA nor OAT appears to be anything of the sort.
Read the whole thing. It's a great read.
In my last post updating Oiwan's case last month, I reported how Oiwan was having trouble getting the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) and the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT) to answer her questions - answers which she believes are important so that she can adequately prepare her defense. In her new blog, she posted the full text of her reply to OAT, which requested that she "Please tell the Tribunal the relevance of the questions in relation to the full hearing." Her letter begins:
In response to your letter dated July 24 2007 concerning the relevance of my questions in relation to the full hearing, I would like to refer to the mission statement of Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) that they follow the principle of “Transparency to the public”. I believe that the information that I asked for should be open to the public inquiries not to mention the fact that I am the applicant in this classification proceedings.
As I said in my previous letter, the information that I asked for “is necessary for my preparation of witness statement, expert opinions, submissions, etc. as they directly affect the classification of the article – which can lead to a serious criminal charge.”
However, to entertain TELA and OAT’s question, I would like to refer to CAP 390, section 7(2), which states: “Subject to subsection (3), in the event of any difference between the members of a Tribunal, the decision of that Tribunal shall be that of the majority of them or, in the event that they are equally divided, that of the presiding magistrate.”
Questions 1-4 from my letter dated July 17 are to seek further information on the above process described by the law. If such process had not taken place, I would seek judicial review for the interim classification.
Got the latest update from the Obscene Article Tribunal. It is really amazing to read their letters.
Upon receiving my letters for further info, OAT is now writing to Television and Entertainment Authoring to seek inquiries about “point of law” regarding its duty. Here is the OAT letter to TELA cc to me:
Case No. OAGO000147/2007
We refer to the letter from the applicant dated 9.8.2007.
Question 3 and 4 in the letter probably involve point of law.
The tribunal would like to have your response to inter alia
(1) whether the Tribunal has a duty to disclose the process of interim classification, which according to s.14(1)(a) of Cap. 390 is held in private without the attendance of anyone and
(2) if there is such a duty, the degree of disclosure; within 6 weeks from today."
Is it usual that a judicial body would seek advice from an administrative body on its duty? Anyone with a legal mind can throw some light?
Any ideas, anyone?