Internet Society Hong Kong’s Legal Challenge Against Govt’s Injunction of Blocking Free Speech Online
政府早前取得臨時禁制令，禁止任何於網上包括LIHKG及Telegram 發佈或轉發煽動暴力的言論 。禁制令條文涵蓋內容廣泛而含糊不清 , 限制網上言論, 更可迫使ISP 過濾內容甚至封鎖網站 。香港互聯網協會決定眾籌向法庭入稟覆核 ，阻止政府引入禁網。
The High Court in Hong Kong issued an interim injunction prohibiting anyone from posting and re-posting any information that promotes violence, including on LIHKG and Telegram. The injunction is vague and over-broad, and compromises freedom of speech online. Potentially the govt could even force ISPs into censoring or restricting access to certain sites. ISOC HK has decided to file a civil action to review against the injunction to defend Internet freedom, with the help from crowdfunding.
眾籌詳情 Crowdfunding details： https://gogetfunding.com/jrcensorship/
高等法院於10月31日頒布臨時禁制令，禁止任何人於網上，包括 LIHKG 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。政府近日三番四次利用申請禁制令，變相繞過社會討論和立法會程序，無法無天。今次的禁制令侵犯市民言論自由，形同實施大規模 「網禁」的熱身動作。此例一開，全面網絡審查勢將再推進一步。
The High Court in Hong Kong issued an interim injunction on October 31st, prohibiting 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 latest government’s move to file another injunction was yet again an attempt to circumvent due public consultation and legislative process. The injunction is a severe threat to freedom of expression online. It is also an extremely dangerous first step of Internet censorship that we fear the government is paving way for implementing Internet shutdown.
The injunction provisions are overbroad, anyone who issues comments on police brutality and criticism on the government could potentially be construed to be “inciting, aiding or abetting” others to commit unlawful acts. The injunction can even go further to include anyone who simply ‘like’, share and respond to the comments. It is possible that with the use of the injunction, the government may force online platforms and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to censor and restrict access to websites and applications, or request private information of online users who are aiding in the dissemination of the online content. The injunction will not only affect free speech online, it will destroy Hong Kong’s open and free Internet, as well as free flow of information, if the government seeks to invoke more power to censor the Internet.
Introducing Internet censorship of online speech is similar to the Great Firewall of China. It is a serious breach of citizens’ freedom of expression and Hong Kong’s long cherished free flow of information. The government’s injunction creates a chilling effect, spreads white terror, and forces the public to engage in self-censorship. If the situation remains unchecked, the police could potentially use the injunction to persecute more innocent and law abiding citizens who have the courage to speak up against the government and injustice.
We must not allow a dangerous precedent to be set in curbing online free speech. In our best efforts to avert Internet blocking and censorship, we have decided to file a civil action to challenge against the injunction. We hope the court would rule the injunction unconstitutional and block the possibility of any attempts to censor the Internet in the future. The funds raised will be used to pay for the legal costs of the legal actions and bringing the case to higher courts if needed.
The fight against the Great Firewall of China belongs to us all. We call on you support on this crowdfunding campaign and together, we defend our freedom of speech and an open and free Internet.