The District Councils Observers (“the Observers”) have received multiple complaints regarding opposition district councillors putting up many hateful, smearing, false and vengeful banners that even went so far as to attack specific businesses. Therefore, the Observers conducted an investigation in October and found a total of 84 such banners with the following contents:
1. Smearing the HKSAR and Central Governments
Banners smearing the HKSAR or Central Governments make up the largest category. The opposition aims to gain political “brownie points” from their supporters, to chip away at the trust in the HKSAR and Central Government among the public through unrealistic and false information.
2. Misleading advertising/reports/statements
Opposition district councillors always put up banners with false and misleading information, statements or reports to confuse right and wrong and to “muddy the waters”.
3. Hate speech
Some banners are outright hate speech mostly directed against the National Security Law or at specific businesses or stores.
4. Hate speech against the police
Many opposition district councillors spread hate speech against the police. It can only create division and serves no positive social purpose.
5. Business advertising or paid services
Lands Department guidelines require that political organizations cannot set up banners advertising specific businesses or paid services to prevent a clash of interests or secret deals. However, an opposition district councillor in Sheng Shui hung an illegal banner regarding a service for paid flu shots.
We urge the government to strictly implement the following proposals:
1. Set up a unified approval guideline for banners
We urge the government to take the Housing Department’s procedures and guidelines for the approval of banners as reference and to set up a unified approval guideline for banners. The government should quickly dismantle unapproved or illegitimate banners, cancel those banner spots in question and charge the offending district councillor with the removal fee.
2. The HKSAR government should quickly refute false statements
The government should take the problem seriously and set up effective counter-messaging efforts, e.g., government departments can also hang banners in districts refuting false statements or rumors.
Media Inquiries: Sham Shui Po District Councillor LAU Pui-yuk