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National anthem won’t affect press freedom: Chan

2019-01-18 08:00     Comment:0

Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan reassured the public yesterday that the government-drafted national anthem bill – which is currently under review by a standing committee of the legislature – will not affect Macau’s press freedom after the bill becomes law.

Chan made the remarks while speaking to reporters after attending a committee meeting in the Legislative Assembly (AL).

Chan’s remarks came after the Macau Journalists Association had urged the government to withdraw a proposal in its local national anthem bill which states that the local authorities may request news media outlets to assist the government in launching its promotion campaigns for the national anthem.

The association made the appeal in a letter dated January 16 sent to Legislative Assembly President Ho Iat Seng. The letter was sent by the association to the local press yesterday.

The association said it worried that the proposal would negatively impact the special administrative region’s press freedom.
The Legislative Assembly (AL) passed in August last year the outline of the bill amending the existing local law on the use and protection of the national flag, national emblem and national anthem. The legislature’s 1st Standing Committee is currently reviewing the bill article-by-article.

The amendment bill “localises” the country’s National Anthem Law to be applied in Macau, following its inclusion in Annex 3 of the Macau Basic Law as one of the national laws to be applied in the special administrative region.

The amendment bill is commonly known as the local national anthem bill, as the bill primarily proposes amendments to rules concerning the national anthem listed in the existing local law on the use and protection of the national flag, national emblem and national anthem, and some additional new articles concerning the national anthem.

The country’s National Anthem Law was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on September 1, 2017 and took effect on October 1, 2017.

On November 4, 2017, the NPC Standing Committee adopted decisions to implement the National Anthem Law both in Hong Kong and Macau, the nation’s two special administrative regions. According to the decisions, the National Anthem Law was to be included in Annex 3 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and Annex 3 of the Macau Basic Law. Both annexes list the national laws, resolutions and regulations to be applied in the two autonomous regions.

According to the basic laws of Hong Kong and Macau, national laws shall not be applied in the two regions, except for those listed in Annex 3 of their respective basic laws.

Afterwards, the local government started the legislative process to draft related local legislation for the National Anthem Law to be applied in Macau – by proposing amendments to local Law No. 5/1999 which regulates the use and protection of the national flag, national emblem and national anthem. This local piece of legislation came into force on the Establishment Day of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on December 20, 1999.

Local Law No. 5/1999 states that the nation’s symbols – the national flag, national emblem and national anthem – are to be respected and protected.



Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan speaks to reporters in the Legislative Assembly (AL) yesterday. Photo: GCS

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