Talking points: Should songs that insult the police be allowed or should artists be fined for playing them?

Compiled by Wong Yat-hei

Hate it when you can't talk back? Well, you can withYoung Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong.

Compiled by Wong Yat-hei |

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A band plays a song at Lingnan University's concert last month that contained abusive lyrics about the families of police officers.

Tinaz Mirza, 17, South Island School

Words have a lot more power than some people think. They're the first step before taking action, so they can definitely cause problems if inappropriately used. Yet should it be a crime to say what you want? Or is it the public's responsibility to think before they act?

I think although the lyrics were inappropriate and could cause problems, it should not be illegal to play them. A government making it illegal for people to express themselves against the police is a violation of basic freedom of speech.

Timophy Pit Hok-yau, 15, King Ling College

It is intolerable to sing songs that insult the police at a university concert. I am not saying that the cops have done a great job but it is a matter of respecting others. The singer is disrespecting the police. They are using freedom of speech as a tool to insult others and this is definitely unethical.

However, I don't think the artists should be fined, as money won't solve the problem. Instead, they should make a formal apology to the police.

Anushka Purohit, 15, Renaissance College Hong Kong

Everything comes at a price. By fining artists who insult people, we make them aware that what they are doing is offensive so they should be punished. Fines should definitely be demanded; eventually they will learn that spending money simply to insult policemen probably isn't worth it.

Ernest Leung Lok-hang, 15, La Salle College

I think that it is quite inappropriate to play this song in a public concert - especially when the song contains lyrics that insult people's mothers. This way of expressing opinion should not be allowed or encouraged.

Young people often choose to vent their anger and air their grievances about the status quo through radical actions. Which makes me wonder, should we really prosecute their actions which, while perhaps inappropriate, came from a place of kind-hearted concern?

Why should we stigmatize teenagers and deter them from making themselves heard by making them suffer legal consequences? Can't we appreciate their concern for society while explaining why their approach was wrong?

Belinda Ng, 15, South Island School

Hong Kong has always been considered a place that strongly upholds the fundamental right to freedom of expression. However, I believe there is a fine line between freedom of expression and a direct verbal attack on somebody.

The band who insulted the police with their songs were expressing themselves freely - but they have crossed a line. Understandably, they were expressing very strong emotions, but when this form of expression causes public outcry, and damages the reputation of university students in such a humiliating way, this is a form of a direct verbal attack, and must not be tolerated.

Tell us what you think in the comment box below.

In our next Talking Points, we'll discuss:

What are your thoughts on ICAC's decision not to pursue the case further after two years of investigation into Secretary for Development Paul Chan's farmland ownership at Kwu Tung North?

We are now accepting answers from readers for this new topic. To take part, e-mail your answer with your name, age and school, plus a high-res photo of yourself (no less than 1MB), to [email protected] by Monday lunchtime next week.