An edition of Eastweek magazine that was banned by the Obscene Articles Tribunal for running a photo of a semi-naked abducted actress was 'moderate and conservative' and should not be regarded as obscene, an appeal hearing was told yesterday. Barrister Lawrence Lok is appearing for Eastweek, which is appealing against a ruling that its October 30 issue was unfit for sale. The November 7 ruling involved a report about a Hong Kong actress who was abducted and abused about 12 years ago. The magazine, shut down by owner Albert Yeung Sau-shing, is now fighting to overturn the tribunal's ruling which, if allowed to stand, could see people involved in the issue's publication or sale face criminal charges. Mr Lok yesterday told the hearing the picture and article in the magazine were 'moderate'. 'We can't find any wording that glorifies violence or demeans the victim. The tone is sympathetic,' Mr Lok said. Mr Lok said the report, which showed a half-naked woman, paled in comparison with sexually explicit fare in other Hong Kong publications. He cited 36 examples. 'These articles are more gross and explicit . . . I just want to point out that society nowadays is much more open and tolerant than 20 years ago,' he said. Mr Lok also called on former Hong Kong Press Club chairman Tim Hamlett, who is also an associate professor of journalism at the Baptist University, to give evidence. In a statement, Mr Hamlett said that although the use of the picture 'displayed poor editorial judgment', the tribunal erred to condemn the article as obscene and indecent. 'It would be tempting but dangerous for the tribunal to suppose that if there is a public outcry then standards must have been violated . . . the risk is that superficial judgment may be made about what precisely the public objects to and why,' Professor Hamlett said. 'Many people took the view that the picture should not have been published because of its effect on her [the victim]. This is an entirely understandable view but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the work of the tribunal. 'The whole Eastweek controversy could be regarded as a struggle between journalists trying to surface a long-buried story and an industry anxious to keep its dirty linen private.' Magistrate Au See-hin adjourned the hearing to today.