MAGAZINE publishers are worried they may be driven out of business by amendments to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance which come into force in October. The amendment means magazines containing certain 'indecent' articles will have to be sheathed in an opaque plastic cover revealing only the publication's name, publisher, cost and date of issue. But publishers have complained consumers will be unable to examine the cover story or flick through the features in certain magazines, causing sales to plummet. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority said the new law was needed to reduce the growing number of minors who buy obscene articles. But Henderson and Associates marketing director Patrick Leung Chi-kwong said confusion over the interpretation of the new laws could cause deadlines to be missed, crippling sales. The cost of plastic covers would add to rapidly rising expenses, putting small publishers out of business. 'These new rules will kill off a lot of publishers,' Mr Leung said. 'Paper costs have already risen greatly and now the Government will increase the pressure because these plastic bags can cost a lot even when bought in bulk.' He also said the new rules would decrease sales figures because some publications would be unable to display their cover stories, featured articles or models in the issue. 'Even if you know the title, consumers should have the right to know what is in the issue,' he said. 'Many people buy magazines for the content in that particular issue rather than just the name of the product.' Mr Leung said operations would also be affected by confusion over where responsibility lay for providing plastic covers. A spokesman for the authority said all parties involved with the publication were responsible for ensuring the product was adequately wrapped. She said vendors and publishers now had a grace period to familiarise themselves with the amended ordinance, recently passed by the Legislative Council, and publishers' concerns would be passed on to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for attention. But Mr Leung questioned how the the amendments would make it harder for minors to gain access to obscene magazines. 'And what about environmental protection?' he said. 'Some magazines print up to 40,000 copies of each issue. That means hundreds of thousands of plastic bags will be discarded.'