LettersHong Kong’s new film censorship rules must be applied responsibly
- Vague instructions could lead to censors being trapped by a lack of clarity and stymied by doubt
- Given the many grey areas within the law, censors must not be intellectual slouches or use their powers irrationally
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said that, in the past, film censorship had been done with one eye open and the other shut, but this cannot go on. The tide has turned. As with the introduction of other new rules in our society, many people are filled with qualms and anxiety over the repercussions for the freedom of expression, though Lam has assured the film industry that its freedom to innovate will not be affected.
It is an undeniable fact that the film industry is a dream factory. Producers are frequently blessed with a fertile imagination as well as much freedom, leaving great space for suggestive representation.
Whether a particular scene or line constitutes defiance of the national security law will depend on the context. Many expect that, under the amended guidelines for film censorship, movies with sensitive political subjects will be banned outright or so heavily censored that they totally lose the artist’s original vision and intent.
As a big fan of the movies, I hope our film censors will not be intellectual slouches and censor irrationally. Most of all, like other movie-lovers, I hope the film industry will by no means be hamstrung by the new censorship rules.
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan