Hong Kong: Banned Halloween Ads

Every year, the Ocean Park in Hong Kong would organize Halloween party for attracting visitors. However, its advertisements faced a lot of complaints from the public. This year, some of its clips were banned. But one of the the banned clip is now circulated via youtube and has attracted a lot of attention in local blogs and forums.

The video is about haunted lift in which a kid tormented by the education system asks a big sister for his school grading report. The genre copied the scary Japanese ghost-eyes. Don't click the video below if you have a weak-heart :)

Charlize doesn't find the video horrible at all and wonders why the government bans it. However, Ryan finds the video really scary:


When I first watch it, I felt so chilly! The setting is public housing in Hong Kong, and everyone in Hong Kong is familiar with the spatial setting. And so many ghost stories are related with public housing. The more familiar the place is, the more horrible you feel, because you tend to associate with your experience.

Missque finds the advertisement very successful even though it is banned:


Although it is banned, it has very good effect in the Internet
The ban itself attracts a lot of attention. People like me (the weak-hearted type) wouldn't have watched it if it is not a banned video. Sure you won't miss it. It is a good strategy.

However, the circulation of the banned video may fall into the trap of local censorship law. The government's Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority can give warning to online service providers or submit the suspected “indecent” or “obscene” online articles to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification. The circulation of “indecent” material to public audience is a criminal offense and is subject to a fine of HK$400,000 and 12 months imprisonment for first conviction and HK$800,000 and 12 months imprisonment for subsequent conviction.

Will TELA give warning to the Ocean Park and youtube? Probably not as Ocean Park is an iconic local business and such practice will kill the internet freedom. However, how should the TELA deal with the double standard in handling internet censorship? Like this case?

The government has decided to review the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance last year and it will likely present the public consultation this month. Let's wait and see how it deals with the Internet censorship in the draft.


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