60pc of Legco candidates ignore survey seeking stance on HK freedoms

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 8:28am

Nearly 60 per cent of Legco candidates - mostly from the pro-establishment camp - have not replied to survey questions about their stance on issues related to press freedom and the free flow of government information.

Online media outlet InMedia sent questionnaires to all 127 lists of candidates in mid-August seeking positions on an archive law, an anti-stalking law, freedom of the airwaves and amendments to laws on copyright and the control of obscene and indecent materials. Only 52 lists - 37 contesting geographical constituencies and 15 running in functional constituencies - responded. Most were pan-democrats.

Seventy-five lists had not responded by yesterday. Most were from pro-establishment political groups, including the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Federation of Trade Unions, the Liberal Party and New People's Party, and included all 16 candidates who won their functional constituency seats uncontested. (A list comprises one or more candidates.)

Michelle Fong Yuk-kwan, an advocacy officer for Hong Kong InMedia, said she was disappointed with the response.

"None of the candidates who won their seats uncontested responded to our survey," she said. "It showed that only a real election with competition could force candidates to face voters."

Those who replied suppored legislation to allow the public and media to get information from government departments and to open the airwaves to community radio stations.

An overwhelming majority supported an exemption for derivative works such as parody a proposed amendment to the Copyright Ordinance and backed a review of the definition of obscene and indecent articles.

However, the respondents were split on the introduction of an anti- stalking law, on which the government conducted a public consultation this year.