(Delivered in Parliament on 8 May 2019)
如何定义信息真假、公共利益 ?– 法案给了每位部长绝大的诠释空间。
Some say: Why worry？ This is simply the government carrying out its work. If the people are not happy, they can change the government at the next elections. What’s more, the minister is a dependable public servant, even if the text of the bill grants him great powers, he in fact will not abuse them.
This is a big topic, which I touch on briefly here.
I believe that the success of a political system in delivering results for its people, whether in the West or the East, depends to a large extent on the effective checks on the exercise of power. These checks take many forms: democratic elections are one; so is the rule of law, also the moral and ethical codes that guide and constrain the behaviour of government officials and the people; the public disclosure of information, including online information; the freedom of speech, including online speech, etc. They are all mechanisms that provide checks on the exercise of power. They are not mutually exclusive. The more of them we can integrate and accommodate, the better. This is a worthy challenge for us.
Let’s talk about the checks on power provided by laws. The Rule of Law has had great success in the West historically. To promote the rule of law in opposition to the rule of man is also a growing aspiration in the East, making the Rule of Law increasingly a universal human value. But the rule of law is not achieved merely by a high volume of legislation. The existence of a large number of laws does not in itself effectively constrain the exercise of power. If the laws we make grant the minister great powers, to be used at his discretion, if we do not clearly calibrate in the text of a law its constraints on power, then we will not be able to say that we have successfully met our challenge: that we successfully married the rule of law with our hopes for a rule of virtue.