Website will take case to ombudsman after Bible gripes ignored

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am

The anonymous website that prompted an avalanche of complaints about indecent material in the Bible vowed yesterday to take its case to the ombudsman after the standards watchdog decided not to pursue the complaints. yesterday carried a message calling on the public to write to the Office of the Ombudsman to ask for an investigation into the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority over its apparent inconsistent application of standards.

'I very much agree that the Bible is a religious text, [and that] Catholicism and Christianity are a part of human development, but this certainly does not mean Bible content about abnormal sex and violence are in keeping with the moral standards of normal Hongkongers,' it said.

The authority said on Thursday night that it would not pass the complaints to the Obscene Articles Tribunal as it considered the Bible to be 'a religious text which is part of civilisation' and had been 'passed on from generation to generation'.

However, contrasted this decision with previous Tela rulings, including finding Michelangelo's statue of David indecent and censoring swear words from the award-winning 1987 film An Autumn Tale, which the letter said were 'essential to Chow Yun-fat's portrayal of his character'.

An ombudsman spokeswoman was unable to confirm if any complaints had been made about Tela as its ordinance did not permit it to release the details of complaints ahead of an investigation. The results of an investigation, if there was one, could be released if it was considered to be in the public's interest.

The website's campaign to have the Bible reclassified was prompted by the obscenities tribunal's ruling on Tuesday that a Chinese University student magazine was indecent (category II) because it contained a questionnaire that asked readers if they had fantasies involving incest and bestiality.

A Tela spokesman said that by 5pm yesterday the authority had received 2,307 complaints citing indecent and offensive passages in the Bible since the campaign began.

It is the largest number received about a single publication since last August, when about 2,800 people complained about Easyfinder magazine's cover photograph of pop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung changing her clothes backstage.

The authority has received 225 complaints about the sex survey in the Chinese University Student Post.

Complaints mount

The number of complaints about the Bible received by Tela by 5pm yesterday 2,307