Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) jointly held a press conference with Archives Action Group, Progressive Lawyers Group, Hon Charles Mok and Hon Tanya Chan today, to deliver our request to Ms Teresa Cheng, the Chairman, Law Reform Commission (LRC) to consider extending the consultation period by two months to allow more time for stakeholders and the public to fully deliberate their position towards the consultation questions and recommendations.
The Law Reform Commission Sub-committees on Archives Law and Access to Information published their respective consultation papers in December 2018 to invite public views. Two papers were 172 pages and 260 pages long respectively, with 17 consultation questions and 20 recommendations to consider; a three-month consultation period is completely insufficient to study the two reports in detail, especially for members of the public. Ms. Shirley Yam, Vice-chairperson of HKJA said.
The Chairmen of subcommittees admitted the two topics are complicated and technical in nature, Mr. Maurice Joseph Chan from Archives Action Group added, with the Christmas and Lunar New Year holiday, members of the public only have 2 months’ time to study the papers, which is insufficient for deliberation. In fact, LRC rarely has public consultation on two legal issues within the same period. Yam worried the Government will refuse to legislate based on the public indifference resulting from such a short consultation period.
The Association has written to the LRC for the extension. In response, the commission said it would be too early to decide on an extension, noting that it has already received some substantive comments. Instead, they said members of the public can apply for late submission on a case by case basis. HKJA has co-organized a joint online petition together with Archives Action Group, Progressive Lawyers Group and Legislative Councillors for an extension.
Joint petition: https://bit.ly/extend-LRC-consultation (deadline: 3 February 2019)
Hong Kong Journalists Association
30 January 2019