Hong Kong pro-democracy radio allowed back on air
Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:14am GMT
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong court struck down a bid to muzzle a pirate radio station on Monday, saying its pro-democracy operators were acting to protect fundamental freedoms.
A court injunction barring "Citizens' Radio" from going on the air expired on Friday during a court battle that has highlighted sensitivities over media freedoms in Hong Kong since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
High Court judge Michael Hartmann dismissed a government request to extend the ban. "Their methods may make some people uncomfortable but it must be accepted that, right or wrong, they see themselves as acting to protect certain fundamental freedoms," Hartmann said.
Hartmann added that court injunctions of this nature, tied to criminal proceedings, should only be granted "exceptionally and with great caution." "When fundamental freedoms are at issue ... this court bears special responsibilities," he added.
A lower court ruling had seemingly ruled in Citizens' Radio favor, finding local radio laws to be "unconstitutional." But this judgment was later suspended, pending an appeal by the government to a higher court. The initial airwave ban was then imposed, which the activists openly defied with a live street broadcast. Hartmann said it was still possible the radio activists could be "held accountable" for contempt of court.
While Hong Kong has one of the freest media arenas in Asia, the case has highlighted the power of authorities to shut out anti-establishment voices. "The government should immediately prepare to amend the (radio) laws ... rather than continue to tell lies and abuse its power to harm a small radio station," said one of the radio activists, maverick lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung.
RTHK, the city's respected and critical public broadcaster, also faces an uncertain fate under a broadcasting review which critics fear could see it turned into a government mouthpiece.
21 gennaio 2008
Hong Kong, Citizens' Radio non chiude
Citizens' Radio, voce libera di Hong Kong in FM ha vinto la sua battaglia in tribunale. Per ora. Secondo la Reuters però le autorità stanno studiando una revisione della legge che potrebbe mettere a rischio anche l'indipendenza di RTHK, la ex emittente "di stato".