Is a naked Australian clutching a compact disc any more indecent than Michelangelo's statue of David? A top judge posed the question yesterday in a case which could lead to new guidelines being set to help determine what is indecent or obscene. One of the pictures in question shows a naked woman in an Australian record shop using a compact disc as an improvised fig leaf. It was declared indecent by the Obscene Articles tribunal after being published alongside a newspaper article. 'She is not doing anything sexual or violent or horrific. She is just standing there with a CD in front of her. Is that worse than looking at a statue of Michelangelo's David?' asked Mr Justice Charles Ching. 'It is no good saying she is naked beneath the CD. Everyone is naked under their clothes.' The Court of Final Appeal gave Oriental Daily Publisher the go-ahead to proceed with its challenge to the decision, which has already been upheld by two lower courts. Philip Dykes, SC, for the publisher, argued that the tribunal should give full reasons for its rulings. 'The nature of the work carried out by the tribunal constitutes a restriction of the freedom and expression of the press,' he said. 'That is obviously of general and public importance.' Newspapers working to daily deadlines did not have time to seek the tribunal's views before publishing potentially controversial articles. It was important that reasons behind rulings be given by the tribunal so that publishers had guidelines to follow, Mr Dykes said. Mr Justice Ching said: 'Matters of morality and decency are shifting targets. Therefore, where you have a tribunal which has an absolute power to say yes or no you can't allow them to be bomb-proofing themselves by saying I find it indecent because it is indecent.' Andrew Bruce, SC, for the Government, accepted that reasons should be given but said that whether they were adequate or not depended on the circumstances of each case. He described the pictures concerned as 'tawdry'. In 1995, a judge accused the tribunal of making Hong Kong a laughing stock by ruling that a picture of Michelangelo's David statue was indecent. The decision was later overturned.