HK’s film censors tighten grip to safeguard national security

Local | 11 Jun 2021 11:57 am

The government today gazetted the amendments to the guidelines for censors under the Film Censorship Ordinance, providing censors with clearer guidelines on film examination and classification to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.

Any exhibition of a film that would likely constitute an offense endangering national security, or if the film’s effect on the viewers may endanger national security or the safeguarding of national security, the censor should form the opinion that the film is not suitable for exhibition.

The amended guidelines will be in effect starting today.

Key amendments to the Film Censorship Guidelines for Censors include the censor should be vigilant to the portrayal, depiction or treatment of any act or activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security, or which may otherwise jeopardize the safeguarding of national security by the HKSAR, and any content of a film which is objectively and reasonably capable of being perceived as endorsing, supporting, promoting, glorifying, encouraging or inciting such act or activity.

The amendment also stated that when considering a film as a whole and its effect on the viewers, the censor should have regard to his duties to prevent and suppress acts or activities endangering national security, and the common responsibility of the people of Hong Kong to safeguard the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China.

“The censor must abide by the national security law in discharging his duties under the Film Censorship Ordinance,” a spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said.

“Although fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression in the exhibition of films, should be respected, the exercise of such rights are subject to restrictions provided by law that are necessary for pursuing legitimate aims," the spokesman added.

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