Government Information Bureau (IBS) Director Victor Chan Chi Ping said on Friday his bureau has completed the public consultation process on its press bill which it has submitted to Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, vowing the release its wording in the middle of this month.
Chan also said that after public consultations ended last October, the latest version of the amendment bill suggests axing an article in the existing Press Law according to which anyone found guilty of abusing press freedom faces an additional one-third punishment to the maximum penalty.
Chan made the announcement in a speech while at a gathering the bureau hosted for media representatives at Clube Militar.
According to a previous announcement, the original revision of the bill already included the deletion of all articles concerning the setting-up of a press council and the formulation of a code of ethics for journalists.
The controversial law has been in place for over two decades. Even though the press council was supposed to have been set up shortly after the law was originally promulgated in 1990, it never got off the ground because most journalists and media companies have consistently rejected the notion of government involvement in the establishment of such a council and the official formulation of media ethics.
Addressing the event, Chan said the bureau’s decision to axe the article demanding one-third additional punishment to the maximum penalty for abusing press freedom matched current penal regulations.
The amendment bill will have to be submitted to the Executive Council – the government’s top advisory body
– for discussion and the Legislative Assembly for debate and vote. To become law, the bill must be passed by the legislature and promulgated by the chief executive.(macaunews/macaupost)