HKFP Article: Hong Kong’s ‘broad’ homegrown security law may curtail free speech and press freedom, foreign gov’ts and groups say

They are still pubnlishing the best articles on Article 23…. always our first stop for HK National Security Law updates.

It is about what isn’t said as well as what is said in a HKFP article, for obvoius reasons.


The “broad and vague” terms in Hong Kong’s proposed domestic security law may further curtail free speech and press freedom in the city, foreign governments and overseas legal groups have warned.

The four-week public consultation on the controversial enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law ended on Wednesday with more than 13,000 submissions, as the Hong Kong government hailed a 99 per cent support rate for the upcoming legislation.

Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulates that the government shall enact laws on its own to prohibit acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against Beijing. Its legislation failed in 2003 following mass protests and it remained taboo until after the onset of the separate, Beijing-imposed security law in 2020. Pro-democracy advocates fear it could have a negative effect on civil liberties but the authorities say there is a constitutional duty to ratify it.

Local press groups, foreign governments and monitoring groups abroad have criticised the proposed provisions as being too broad and lacking protection for journalistic activities. HKFP rounds up submissions by six local and overseas groups or governments.

Hong Kong Journalists Association

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) on Wednesday released results of an online survey, which collected views from its members on the potential impact of the Article 23 legislation on the industry.

All 160 respondents said they believed the domestic security law would have a “negative impact” on press freedom in Hong Kong, with 90 per cent of them saying the impact would be “significant.”

All respondents said the definition of “state secrets” was unclear, and they did not know how to avoid inadvertently breaking the law. Some members also raised concerns that the protection of the public interest was inadequate in the current legislative proposal, the HKJA said.

“There are even members who describe the Article 23 legislation as ‘another nail in the coffin of Hong Kong’s freedom of speech’,” the local press group said in a statement.

The journalist group submitted views to the government earlier this week to express concerns that the legislation could have “far-reaching implications” for the press and would affect regular newsgathering.

Journalists often receive leaks from government sources and it would be difficult for the media to determine if publishing such information would constitute an offence of theft of state secrets, as the term was “too broad,” the HKJA said.

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Hong Kong’s ‘broad’ homegrown security law may curtail free speech and press freedom, foreign gov’ts and groups say