Hong Kong to introduce Internet content rating system
Hong Kong 10 June 2003
The Government and the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) will join hands to implement an Internet content rating system project to minimise the impact of unhealthy Internet information on young people and children.
The project adopts the rating system developed by the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). Under this system, webmasters who took part in the scheme on a voluntary basis will declare their website content via an online questionnaire and obtain a content label from ICRA. Internet users can then download a free label filter software to allow or disallow access to a particular website based on their own preferences.
Officiating at the project’s launching ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Information Technology and Broadcasting), Mr Francis Ho, said the project was aimed at minimising the impact of unhealthy Internet information on young people and children, under the joint efforts of the Government, the industry, schools and parents. He said, "A special feature of the ICRA system is that it will not rate the content of individual website. Webmasters will declare their website content on a voluntary basis, while Internet users will decide by themselves whether to browse a particular website. The system can on the one hand protect youngsters and children from the impact of undesirable Internet content, on the other hand it can ensure that freedom of speech and information will not be infringed."
Mr Ho stressed that the Government had been very concerned about the impact of obscene and violent information on young people and children. Apart from stepping up enforcement actions, a variety of educational and promotional activities had been organised, which included Ten Healthy Websites Contest, Cyber Ambassador Award, publicity activities subsidising scheme in relations to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, seminars and exhibitions at schools, and the set up of the Healthy Information Resource Centre.
"We hope these activities can help young people and children to access healthy information and strengthen their immunity against undesirable content," he said.
The President of HKISPA, Mr York Mok, said at the ceremony that the ICRA scheme emphasised on the self-discipline of the Internet industry. He urged the industry to take the initiative to make good use of the rating system.
An "Internet Safety Hotline" - 2528 6286 will be set up under the Internet content rating project. The hotline, managed by the HKISPA, will handle enquiries about the project and complaints on obscene and indecent materials on the Internet. Upon receiving public complaints about undesirable Internet content, HKISPA will liaise with relevant Internet service providers to work out a solution. If the Internet contents are found against the law, HKISPA will refer the complaints to the police and Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) for further investigations.
The hotline operates from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday. Calls received after these hours will be recorded for follow-up actions.
The ICRA project and the Internet Safety Hotline is launched with a funding of $1.2 million from TELA, while HKISPA is responsible the implementation work and manning of the Hotline. The Association is also responsible for translate and customise the declaration and filter software for local adoption. The content label and downloading of the filter software are free of charge. Please visit HKISPA’s website at www.icrs.hkispa.org.hk or call the Internet Safety Hotline for details.
| Powered by