CE pledges gov’t will uphold press freedom

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng has acknowledged that Portuguese- and English-language media in the Macau SAR have a played a significant role as mediators between the government and the Portuguese- and English- speaking communities in the region.

“This role is indispensable as they help the government preserve its communication channels with the people of Macau by reflecting their social conditions and the popular sentiment to the government,” the CE said at a Chinese New Year luncheon for representatives of local Portuguese- and English-language news organizations.

Portuguese, along with Chinese, is an official language of the Macau SAR. English is not an official language but is widely spoken by minority ethnic groups, the business community and as an intermediary language.

According to Ho, the media has also contributed to the city by monitoring the government and promoting the SAR across the globe.

“It is through the powerful function of the media that the world perceives Macau’s determination, will and aspiration to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and its role as a trade and collaboration service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries,” he said.

The newly-inaugurated CE pledged that the government would continue to uphold freedom of press in accordance with the Basic Law, adding that it would also value its communications and interactions with the media.

Ho also vowed that the government would assist and cooperate with the media to safeguard their right to cover, report and receive news and information so that the free flow of news and information will be protected within the system.

Last year, the Macau Portuguese and English Press Association expressed its concern over the SAR’s Civil Protection Law, which could lead to interpretations that limit freedom of expression.

The association had previously expressed concerns that there were still risks pertaining to press freedoms and freedom of expression in the current version of the bill.

Lawmaker Sulu Sou had also reminded the public to keep an eye on the proposed Civil Protection Bill in general, and on controversial Article 25 – more commonly known as the “rumor offence” – in particular.

His argument aligns with the concerns of other critics of the bill, who disagree with the vagueness of some of the articles and argue that they might be misused by the authorities. LV

Categories Macau