Tramways censored campaign ad, group says

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:30pm


Hong Kong Tramways has been accused of censorship after pulling election ads featuring radical candidates for September's Legislative Council poll.

While the MTR, public buses and even taxis are plastered with campaign advertisements, the tram company on Friday withdrew an ad from private media group, which is linked to the radical political party People Power, just 24 hours after the ad first appeared.

HK Reporter chief executive Ray Chan Chi-chuen said the advertisement was promoting a post-election analytical programme on the website. Although the advert called for a 'change of dynasty on September 9' and features the faces of four members of the radical party, including three candidates, Chan denied it was meant for electioneering.

The advert was to be carried on one vehicle until September 7

'The tram company told us the phrase 'September 9' and the faces of candidates explained why it had to be withdrawn ... although the advert had been approved previously,' he said.

'I guess [the company] might have been under some sort of pressure, probably from other political groups,' Chan, a People Power candidate in New Territories East, said.

Chan said the company had promised a refund of the HK$70,000 cost to run the ad. Tramways' spokesmen could not be reached yesterday.

Claudia Mo Man-ching, a Civic Party candidate in Kowloon West, said she had also experienced problems booking an ad to run on Kowloon Motor Bus vehicles.

She said KMB had objected to her use of sensitive terms, including the names of mainland dissidents. 'I was asked if I could remove such terms, but ... I told them I wouldn't entertain political censorship,' Mo said.

The advertisement ran in its original form on 25 buses, with a KMB officer telling Mo the initial objections were due to 'miscommunication'.

Political commentator Ivan Choy Chi-keung questioned the companies' moves. 'Unless the material is offensive or discriminatory, all political messages should be treated equally,' he said.

Other candidates in New Territories East are Cheung Chiu-hung, James Tien Pei-chun, Ip Wai-ming, Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, Wong Sing-chi, Gary Fan Kwok-wai, Emily Lau Wai-hing, Raymond Ho Man-kit, Ronny Tong Ka-wah, Chan Hak-kan, Elizabeth Quat, Angel Leung On-kay, Scarlett Pong Oi-lan, Christine Fong Kwok-shan, Chan Kwok-keung, Pong Yat-ming, Leung Kwok-hung, Yau Wing-kwong and Alex Tsui Ka-kit.

Mo's rivals in Kowloon West, meanwhile, are Leung Mei-fun, Helena Wong Pik-wan, Tam Kwok-kiu, Ann Chiang Lai-wan, Wong Yuk-man and Wong Yee-him.


The number of passenger trams Hong Kong Tramways operates, servicing six routes and carrying 230,000 people every day