Move will require tribunal to explain in public the rationale of rulings, says Tela The government will send more cases involving obscene and indecent material for review in full public hearings of the Obscene Articles Tribunal, a Legislative Council meeting into intrusion of privacy and press freedom heard yesterday. Currently, most of the tribunal's rulings on whether an item is indecent or obscene are interim classifications that remain in place unless challenged and reviewed. Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) commissioner Lorna Wong Lung-shi said Tela would request more full hearings, rather than rely on interim classifications - full hearings were public and the tribunal must explain the rationale behind its rulings, unlike interim classifications. 'From now on, should there be doubt about a temporary classification, we will take the initiative to ask for a full hearing of the tribunal to verify the classification,' she said. While there was no 'pre-censorship' for publications, Tela had sent 31 cases to the tribunal for classification between January and July this year - seven of which were ruled to be indecent, she said. Tela is discussing with the Department of Justice and the judiciary how to review verdicts and lenient penalties handed down by the courts and is considering appealing over certain cases. Deputations from 13 organisations attended Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel, demanding harsher penalties for publications that ran indecent material and stronger laws to protect the individuals' privacy. Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said there had been opposition from the media and legislators on recommendations on privacy and stalking laws by the Law Reform Commission, and a consensus was needed before new laws could be created. However, Law Yuk-kai, director of Human Rights Monitor, warned about implementing regulations on press freedom in a city with no universal suffrage and a 'one country, two systems' policy. 'The bigger system has very stringent control over the mass media. In China, there are a lot of people in prison because of their views. 'When we come to press freedom, we have to be careful.' Yesterday's meeting was scheduled before the controversy erupted over Easy Finder magazine's publication last month of a secretly shot photograph of Twins pop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung changing her clothes, but pressure groups against media intrusion repeatedly cited it as an example. Yolanda Ng Yuen-ting, deputy director of the Women's Rights Association, called for magazines to be classified before they go on sale, and also asked for more women members on the Obscene Articles Tribunal.