Five prominent pan-democrat lawmakers won an appeal, on Tuesday morning, against their conviction for speaking on an unlicensed radio station in 2008.
Four of the five judges on the Court of Final Appeal panel ruled in favour of the appellants – lawmakers Wong Yuk-man, Emily Lau Wai-hing, Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Chan Wai-yip, and former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat.
The legislators were prosecuted after speaking as guests on a Citizens’ Radio discussion in Sai Yeung Choi Street South, in Mongkok, on April 20, 2008.
They made the broadcast to challenge the constitutionality of the 75-year-old Telecommunications Ordinance, which forbids the transmission or receipt of a message over an unlicensed means of telecommunication.
Chief Magistrate Tong Man fined the lawmakers in 2009, and Court of First Instance judge Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay turned down their appeal in August this year.
After learning of Tuesday’s judgment, People Power legislator Chan said the government should make the airwaves more accessible for those who want to broadcast.
“Hong Kong’s broadcasting policy is totally outdated, and dates back to the pre-war era,” Chan said. “If you compare with all the major cities around the world, Hong Kong is extremely backward in terms of broadcasting policy.”
It should “ensure all kinds of groups, including religious, political and ethnic minority groups, can be given an opportunity to have their own radio station,” he said.