International Federation of the Phonographic Industry CEO for Hong Kong Ricky Fung has urged lawmakers to support the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, saying that there is no longer any room for compromise on the issue.
On Thursday, the Legislative Council meeting on the controversial bill—dubbed an “Internet Article 23” by critics who fear it will curtain online freedoms—was unexpectedly adjourned due to lack of quorum in the chamber.
“We released a statement yesterday asking all lawmakers—not just those in the pro-establishment camp—to fulfill their duties and discuss the issue at the LegCo meetings. Filibustering is not something that we should condone; we’re all tired,” Fung said.
“If you’re talking about compromises, the industry has already compromised six times from 2011 to 2014… We’re going to be an international joke. There’s absolutely no room for compromise.”
Fung said that the Copyright Amendment Bill was an economic rather than a political matter, and further delays would mean Hong Kong lagging behind international standards. He urged the lawmakers to support a bill that, he said, benefited all of Hong Kong and had already struck the right balance.
Following the adjournment on Thursday, LegCo president Jasper Tsang said he would set up a meeting with lawmakers from both the pro-Beijing and pan-democratic camps within a day or two to review the situation and find a way out.
Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, however, suggested transferring the debate to a new select committee rather than the general assembly, citing rule 55(1)(a) of the LegCo rules of procedures. Tsang said that such an arrangement was unprecedented and that there are technical and political questions to be answered.
Glacier Kwong, spokesperson for Keyboard Frontline, supported the idea of a select committee, which she said could help lawmakers deepen their understanding of the bill and ensure that discussion on the bill continues, whilst at the same time delaying its legislation.