February 23, 2007

You are on the invidual archive page of Look and listen. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
Look and listen

While it's hard to get excited about an election that is already decided, the fact that there's actually two candidates in this year's Chief Executive election in Hong Kong is progress of sorts. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty it seems the Big Lychee's officials are looking to the motherland for inspiration in how to conduct these things. The unlinkable SCMP reports:

The first contested election for chief executive may be a historic event, but journalists - who have an obvious role in keeping the public updated about the race - are finding the flow of information leaves much to be desired.

Sometimes, it seems that obstacles are being deliberately put in the media's way. For example, a host of election-related material, such as the candidates' nomination forms, advertisements, expenses and correspondence, is sitting in the Registration and Electoral Office in Wan Chai, open for inspection by the public.

It seems, however, to be up to officials to rule on how these "inspections" are carried out. It is OK to read the material, but you are first reminded that you cannot take notes or photocopies. Once the files land on a desk, you are monitored by a staff member who ensures nothing is written down. In the event that a couple of journalists are present, the staff member also ensures they do not read the same file at the same time, although it is hard to guess the rationale behind this.

The apparent tightening of restrictions has perplexed those who covered the last chief executive election less than two years ago - when reporters were allowed to copy such information freely. Yet a spokesman for the Registration and Electoral Office insists its practices have not changed and the information is only available for public inspection under the Chief Executive Ordinance and the Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation.

The spokesman said the office had received legal advice that public inspection meant "examine closely" and nothing else - although he noted many journalists had "memorised" the information and reported it on many occasions.

It is as absurd with a hint of Big Brother. It's actually quite like the election itself.

posted by Simon on 02.23.07 at 08:44 AM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics category.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?