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HK govt slams The Times over 'misleading' report on Article 23

HK govt slams The Times over 'misleading' report on Article 23

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The Hong Kong government said The Times’ news report regarding Article 23 legislation is “extremely misleading” after the news publication released an article titled “Hongkongers to be jailed for keeping old newspapers”. 

According to its official statement, a government spokesperson expressed strong dissatisfaction and condemnation regarding Bloomberg's reporting, which is misleading to readers. Since then, the headline of The Times’ report has been changed to “Hongkongers face jail for keeping old newspapers”.

"Not only is the report extremely misleading, its headline is also completely wrong, which misleads people into believing that one can be imprisoned for possessing certain old newspapers, thereby generating panic among members of the public,” said the government spokesman. 

According to the statement, the government has emphasised that a person commits an offence only when he or she possesses a publication that has a seditious intention without reasonable excuse. Furthermore, whether a publication has a seditious intention will have to be determined after all relevant circumstances are taken into consideration, including the context and purpose of the publication. 

"Representatives of the Hong Kong government have given multiple examples to illustrate what is meant by 'reasonable excuse' at the Legislative Council bills committee meeting. The provisions of the proposed offence are clear. Members of the public will not unwittingly violate the law. It is incumbent upon The Times to ensure that reports concerning the Basic Law Article 23 legislation of the HKSAR are fair and just, and stop making scaremongering remarks," the government spokesman added.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to The Times for a statement. 

Don't miss: 'No intention to ban social media under Article 23', says HK official

It is not the first time Hong Kong government has condemned news reports from news outlets towards the Article 23 legislation. Recently, a government spokesperson expressed strong dissatisfaction and condemnation regarding Bloomberg's reporting, which has resulted in misunderstandings and panic concerning the legislative proposals of Article 23. 

Initially titled "HK says Telegram should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal" and “HK says Signal should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal”, the news reports reported that social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube would be banned under Article 23 legislation. 

The headline of Bloomberg’s report has been changed to “Hong Kong official says city won’t ban popular messaging apps”. 

Speaking at the Legislative Council meeting on Article 23 last Thursday (7 March), secretary for justice Paul Lam said that Hong Kong has no plans to ban certain social media platforms under Basic Law Article 23 national security legislation. 

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'No intention to ban social media under Article 23', says HK official
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