It's art, not smut, writer argues | South China Morning Post
  • Thu
  • Jan 29, 2015
  • Updated: 1:19pm

It's art, not smut, writer argues

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am

One man's smut is another man's art, it seems. A newspaper columnist defended his recent work in the new free paper Sharp Daily as 'literature' after it was ruled indecent by the Obscene Articles Tribunal last Saturday.

Chip Tsao, whose offending column appears under a heading that means to 'glance seductively', defended his work vociferously on a Commercial Radio talk show yesterday morning.

'I think what I write is literature and in good taste,' Tsao said. 'I think if you are going to assess a newspaper's obscene content, you should submit the entire newspaper, not just one section.

'In the '70s and '80s, you could buy newspapers for a couple of cents - almost for free - and that would give you access to all the adult content.'

Choi Chi-sum, leader of the conservative Society for Truth and Light, also appeared on the show. Responding to Tsao's remarks, Choi said: 'I don't think we should compare this with extreme examples from the past. We should apply the values of people today to the situation now.'

Tsao warned that Hong Kong should be careful in deciding what to ban, and should seek the views of the public. He raised the example of Henry Miller's 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer, which was banned for 27 years in the United States but is now deemed an American classic.

A coalition of 87 groups called for a boycott of the tabloid because of its excessive adult content. Forty-three schools banned the newspaper, which was launched on September 19. As of yesterday, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority had received 170 complaints about the tabloid's allegedly obscene, violent and gambling-related content.

Two of Tsao's columns were submitted to the Obscene Articles Tribunal, but only one was found indecent on September 24. The tabloid directs readers to an audio recording of a reading of Tsao's columns on the internet.

Clement So York-kee, a professor at Chinese University's School of Journalism and Communications, said the dilemma and controversy hinged on the fact that Sharp Daily was free.

'This is not a legal issue, but an ethical one,' So said. 'In the past, you had to pay for a paper [with racy content], while now, even a primary school student can have access to it.'

Sharp Daily is part of media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's empire, which also includes Next Magazine and Apple Daily.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or