Updates on 【阻擋網絡文字獄,捍衛言論自由】入稟覆核政府禁制網上言論 Challenge against govt’s injunction to block free speech online

【香港互聯網協會聲明 Statement from the Internet Society Hong Kong | 2019-12-06】
Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Dec 06


眾籌發起至今,聯同線下的捐款(共港幣300,000元)及扣除平台手續費(約港幣159,000元),約有港幣2,169,000元。我們於11月11日入稟法庭,循民事訴訟覆核政府的臨時禁制令,禁制任何人於網上,包括連登討論區及 Telegram,發佈或轉發任何促進、鼓勵或煽動使用或威脅使用暴力的言論。

高等法院於11月15日開庭審理案件,法官當日下午採納香港互聯網協會代表一方的觀點,頒令要求政府釐清及收窄臨時禁制令的範圍,可惜最終裁定臨時禁制令繼續生效。在判詞中,法官表明無意要求互聯網平台審查或過濾內容,相信有效釐清對於互聯網上的平台、 中介及互聯網供應商的法律責任。法官亦下令更改禁制令的部份字眼,表示禁制令在執行上必須要確保發布及散播內容人士是有意圖煽動暴力。





今年六月的反送中到反警暴運動至今,香港人一直秉持「一方有難,八方支援」的精神,令各種對抗強權的抗爭得以持續至今。然而,香港人必須繼續團結一致,抗爭之路必須走下去。我們再次感謝大家支持,亦希望在未來日子繼續與香港人一起並肩捍衛網絡及言論自由。若你有興趣,可到https://www.isoc.hk/be-our-members 成為我們的會員; 如果你希望成為小組義工成員,亦可透過[email protected] 興我們聯絡。

Our earnest gratitude to all of you who have participated in this crowdfunding campaign and joined us in the fight against the government’s move to block free speech online. In total, we have raised around HKD2,169,000 throughout the campaign (after deducting the processing fees by the crowdfunding platform and Stripe).

On November 11th last month, we filed a civil action in the High Court to challenge the interim injunction which prohibits anyone from willfully posting and reposting “any material or information that promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence” online, including on LIHKG and Telegram.

The case was heard on November 15th and judgement was issued subsequently that afternoon. According to the ruling, while the interim injunction can continue to be effective, the judge, taking into account the legal perspectives of ISOC HK, narrowed the scope of the original injunction and amended that only those with the intent and purpose to incite violence will be found guilty under the new injunction order. The judgement also made clear that “the Order does not require instantaneous censorship by platform operators of the content of all posts on that platform, nor does it impose any obligation positively to search for and filter out information or messages that may otherwise be caught by the Order.”

After seeking legal opinion from our counsels, we will withhold from further pursuing the case for the time being. This does not mean the fight is over. The amended injunction by court still creates a chilling effect in the society. In addition, the ominous steps taken by the government towards censoring free speech online will require our vigilance. The Great Firewall of China must not be implemented in Hong Kong. Any attempt to erode free speech online must be fought back with resolve.

We are now suspending the crowdfunding campaign as there are no immediate legal actions. All funds collected will now transfer from ISOC HK’s Stripe account to the bank account of the law firm. The legal costs associated with our civil action amount to HKD850,000, the remaining amount of around HKD1,319,000 from the donations will remain escrowed in the law firm for the time being as a reserved fund for the same purpose of fighting against threats to free speech online and an open and free Internet. We will evaluate the threats to our calls after six months before we contribute the remaining donations to the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund and Spark Alliance as we committed earlier to broader fights against the infringement of human rights. Three trustees we appointed will oversee the use of the funds and we will regularly report on the financial status for the purpose of transparency.

We once again express our heartfelt gratitude for your support and we call upon Hong Kong and people around the world to stand with us to defend freedom of speech online and an open and free Internet. If you believe that the Internet is what you care about, we welcome you to join us and become a member of the Internet Society Hong Kong. Join us as a member at https://www.isoc.hk/be-our-members or email us at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering for our projects.

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