AIPIM calls for further changes to Civil Protection Law

The Macau Portuguese and English Press Association (AIPIM) has again sent a letter to the Legislative Assembly’s First Standing Committee calling for the removal or amendment of the rumor offence in the controversial Civil Protection Law.

The press association focused on the Articles 5 and 25 of the bill that currently face review by the panel.

Although AIPIM considered the initial amendments of the Article 25 as a “positive step forward,” the association still expressed its concerns that there are still risks pertaining press freedom and freedom of expression in the current version of the bill.

In the letter to the committee, AIPIM suggested that if lawmakers decide to keep Article 25 of the bill, it proposed two changes that could be adopted cumulatively.

It proposed to amend Article 25, suggesting that a new wording could be used to define the article if ever the bill is not scrapped.

AIPIM argued that the definition listed in the article would have to be “objectively sufficient,” and proposed that the prison sentence could be reduced by half to one year or a fine of up to 120 days.

It also suggested the removal of Article 5 regarding typology of “internal security incidents, economic functioning incidents, and sudden security incidents arising from or related to external factors.”

“Given the vague nature of the description […], we fear that the way will be opened for a broad and unobtrusive interpretation of what is at stake. We may be faced with gray areas in relation to phenomena unrelated to the mission of civil protection,” the association said in the statement. LV

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