Ten years after the Law Reform Commission proposed the introduction of anti-stalking legislation, the government yesterday said it was planning to launch a consultation exercise on the issue next year. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said the government had decided to address the commission's report on stalking by making 'practical preparations for conducting public consultation in coming months'. The report proposed the introduction of anti-stalking legislation in order to make it a criminal offence to 'pursue a course of conduct causing another person alarm or distress'. Lam said the government was examining the report and would cautiously consider the proposals, which it said may have an impact on press freedom. He said the government would also examine the latest developments in stalking laws overseas. There have been concerns over press freedom in past discussions on stalking legislation. To Yiu-ming, assistant professor at the department of journalism at Baptist University, said anti-stalking legislation is a complicated issue and that he did not see an urgent need for a law. 'Is this just targeting the paparazzi or entertainment news media? Legislation could hinder the media's work in dealing with big corporations and tycoons,' To said. The commission's report suggested stalkers as a category should include 'cyberstalkers', members of triad societies and debt collectors, aside from more common cases. Lawmaker for the information technology sector, Samson Tam Wai-ho, said the international trend was to explore possible regulations governing online behaviour. Liu Ngan-fung, executive member of Forthright Caucus, an organisation campaigning on minority and women's issues, supported the move: 'Many women are harassed by their former husbands by phone. As no law covers this type of harassment, the police cannot help.'