【Video】HK lawmaker Adrian Ho: Journalists have the obligation to safeguard national security

//No one would be immune from legal repercussions, nor HKJA//

In the vibrant metropolis of Hong Kong, where East and West collide, a critical piece of legislation has long remained unresolved. Article 23 of the Basic Law, which pertains to national security, has been the subject of contentious discussion for numerous years.

Journalists must abide by the law

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) is among the most prominent opponents of Article 23, claiming that the law will erode press freedom and risk journalists' safety. With all due respect to HKJA, journalists have an obligation to safeguard national security and abide by the law, just like the rest of us. This holds true regardless of geographical location. Since journalists serve as the fourth estate, preserving individual rights and acting as a crucial watchdog against government excess, they are not immune from legal repercussions.

Journalists are not immune from legal repercussions

Article 23 targets individuals who jeopardise China's sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity as opposed to media institutions or journalists for their work. Article 23 makes no mention of accountability or objectivity among journalists.

A more stable & secure society

Conversely, they will benefit from a more stable and secure society where they may practice their profession without hindrance or intimidation.

Press freedom will be bolstered

Press freedom will be bolstered not diminished, by Article 23.Critics, like the HKJA, allege that strictness infringes on civil liberties. I beg to differ. I contend that only in a safe environment can freedom flourish.

Article 23 guarantees individual rights & collective security

A well-defined Article 23 can guarantee the harmonious coexistence of individual rights and collective security. The challenge is enacting laws that safeguard both in a delicate balance. Take the United Kingdom, a country with a robust legal system, as an example.

Nobody contest UK anti-terrorism measures

Nobody would contest that, despite their strictness, the UK's anti-terrorism measures have suppressed democratic norms and principles. I believe Hong Kong may likewise attain this equilibrium. It is arguable that our proposed legislation is less stringent than that of the United Kingdom, which criminalises "publication of images" or "reckless expressions of support for a proscribed organisation" for or uploading images of proscribed organisations.

Article 23 safeguards our way of life

In essence, Article 23 is not an infringement on our liberties; rather, it serves as a safeguard against potential hazards to our way of life. Let us pursue an uncompromising yet open and transparent strategy that protects our security while ensuring civil liberties. This delicate balance that Hong Kong must achieve is critical to its future.