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(中/英文版) 妇女行动与研究协会(AWARE)深切关注《司法(保护)法令》(Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill)对于自由表达的影响 AWARE express concerns about proposed bill’s implications for free expression

妇女行动与研究协会(AWARE)深切关注《司法(保护)法令》(Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill)对于自由表达的影响

AWARE

转载自:

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/08/10/aware-express-concerns-about-proposed-bills-implications-for-free-expression/

相关链接:

1.https://cpj.org/2016/08/proposed-law-on-contempt-of-court-threatens-press-.php

2.     张素兰: 维护我们的司法制度 Protecting Our Judiciary Bill by Teo Soh Lunghttps://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/

3.公众人士递交请愿书要求国会暂缓通过拟议中的《司法(保护)法令》 https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/

4.《早报》:政府将藐视法庭法律列入法令http://www.zaobao.com.sg/realtime/singapore/story20160711-639953

5.《早报》:什么构成“藐视法庭”?http://www.zaobao.com.sg/special/zbo/others/story20160711-639940

6.     (中/英文版)国际保护记者委员会:藐视法庭法案法律威胁新加坡的新闻自由 Proposed law on contempt of court threatens press freedom in Singapore

   https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/

7.联合国第34号一般性意见:见解自由和言论自由(《公约》第十九条)

https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/

妇女行动与研究协(AWARE) 《司法(保护)法令》将于2016818日在国会二读通过发表声明如下:

妇女行动与研究协会仅此表示我们对《司法(保护)法令》引起得的关注和这部法律背后的原则。无论如何,我们关心这部法令对公民社会和言论自由所产生的冲击。

就广义而言。我们支持法令所要达到的目标,那就是“加强国家和藐视法庭法令”。这部法令的目的是要维持公众对司法制度的信心。它是要在法定的基础上设置给予社会大众提供了更大的肯定。就此而言,这是应该被受欢迎的。特别是,我们高兴的看到法令规定违反或不服从了法院的后果。这将加强了《防止骚扰》和《妇女宪章》在保护基于性别的暴力方面提供了保护。

无论如何,我们关心法案里有关对自由表达的影响。新加坡是需要通过一个蓬勃的公众讨论环境,进而达致培养相互理解和共识。妇女行动与研究协会(AWARE)的工作是争取性别的平等,我们在公开进行从事社会和法律问题时,经常是涉及法院诉讼引发的法律问题。就我们的观点而言,只有在绝对需要的情况下才应该强加限制性的表达意见。这些强加限制性表达已经必须要有绝对性相对比例。

与此同时,民众对关于释义禁止藐视法院的范畴和性质产生很大的混淆。我们要求政府向民众确保,政府是欢迎任何依循法律程序进行批评,以及允许澄清的语言形式,在这样情况下,法案就不会有意无意地迫使团体或个人进行自我审查,进而剥夺了社会各阶层全方位的观点。这些民众的观点是有助于丰富公众的看法的。

特别是,我们将欢迎对于“友善的批评”的释义。这是不属于禁止恶意中伤法庭的罪行。妇女行动与研究协AWARE)对于鼓励家庭和刑事法律的评论具强烈的兴趣。妇女行动与研究协AWARE作为一个组织,我们首先关心的是有关受到歧视的问题。我们将可能会提出有关潜在的系统和无意识的偏见的司法制度

例如,我们公开的批评有关案件的判决和法律问题时,由于法官的判决,性侵犯罪只能是由一个人性器官所造成的情况下,结果因为被告是未成年人,对他性侵犯的指控被判无罪而获得释放。一些公众人士 在猜测,由于是性别偏见的想法造成了这一判决的结果的作用。法案是否会禁止类似这样的评论呢?特别是当“真正的危险”测试公众信心的已经降低到一个纯粹是一个测试风险的问题了!

相同的,提出关于平等对待性别的问题。我们将会针对社会上正在进行的诉讼的影响。例如,报章在报道时经常提供性侵犯的插图。这些插图并不是全面性的。举例来说,如何受害者家庭的认定对于受害者所产生不同的情况。或者,如何认定当局对于未成年人的滥用权力。讨论具体问题,是他们在公众的脑海里,可以让公众了解有关性侵的问题,同时,可以创造一个给予受害者更加支持的环境。这是有别理论上或者历史性讨论所无法达到的目的。有些时候,我们可能会之指出现有法律的缺陷。这是难于想象那些经过适当训练的法官可能会受到我们妇女行动与研究协会(AWARE)提出了类似问题的影响。但是,我们无法清楚的知道,假设诸如此类的公众发表的意见是否会属于触犯这个法案的条款。

无法确定的是,假设善意的批评者在没有为自己提供具有防御性的善意评论时,他们的善意将会面对更加严重的处罚。法案列出了处罚刑罚——最高罚款是10万新元、或者3年监禁、或者两者兼施。相比之下,在镇压叛乱法令下所约定的处罚刑罚是:罚款5千元、或者3年监禁或者两者兼之。

因此看来该法案似乎特别严重。总而言之,当我们全力欢迎和支持者这部法令的原则下,我们也关心它所引起的更多复杂的问题。它将影响公众人士在公开讨论和参与事项的能力的兴趣了。在我们结束这份解释性的声明,它不仅仅是把这些看法编成法律条文,而同时是改变法律本身。给予这个理由,我们希望政府能够对此法案中有关允许评论的具体进行国家清晰的解释。就我们而言,法案在国会通过并付诸实施之前,进行一次广泛的追求民众的意见是有必要的。

我们呼吁国会议员们在这部法案进行二读时要极力为此而进行辩论。

 

AWARE express concerns about proposed bill’s implications for free expression

AWARE

Related link:

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/08/10/aware-express-concerns-about-proposed-bills-implications-for-free-expression/

1.https://cpj.org/2016/08/proposed-law-on-contempt-of-court-threatens-press-.php

2. Protecting Our Judiciary Bill by Teo Soh Lung

https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/

3. Proposed law on contempt of court threatens press freedom in Singapore

   https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/

4.Public petition submitted to Parliament asking for proposed bill to be delayed

 https://wangruirong.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/

维护司法言论自由

Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) issues statement on the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill that will be read for the second time in Parliament on 15 August 2016.

AWARE would like to express our support of the general intention and principle behind the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill. However, we have some concerns about the Bill’s potential negative impact on civil society and free speech.

Broadly, we support the aim of the Bill, which is “to state and consolidate the law of contempt of court”. This law is intended to maintain public confidence in the legal and judicial system. Setting it out on a statutory footing provides greater certainty for all members of society and is therefore to be welcomed. In particular, we are pleased to see provisions setting out consequences for breach or disobedience of court orders, as this will strengthen the protections against gender-based violence offered by the Protection from Harassment Act and the Women’s Charter.

However, we have concerns about the Bill’s implications for free expression. Singapore needs robust public discussion to cultivate mutual understanding and forge consensus. AWARE’s work for gender equality often requires us to publicly engage social and legal issues thrown up by court proceedings. In our view, additional restraints on expression should be imposed only where absolutely necessary, and with strict proportionality.

In addition, there is great public confusion about the scope and nature of contempt of court prohibitions. We urge the government to reassure the public that it welcomes critical engagement with legal proceedings and to clarify the permissible forms of speech, so that the Bill does not inadvertently encourage groups or individuals to self-censor and deprive society of the full range of perspectives that can enrich our public discourse.

In particular, we would welcome clarification as to the scope of “fair criticism” which is not prohibited by the offence of “scandalising the courts”. AWARE has a strong interest in making and encouraging commentary on family and criminal law matters. As a group which is primarily concerned about discrimination, we may even need to raise questions about potential systematic or unconscious biases in the legal system.

For instance, we publicly criticised the outcome and legal reasoning of a case where a defendant was acquitted on charges of sexual penetration of a minor, due to the judge’s decision that the crime could only be committed by a person with a penis. Some members of the public speculated that prejudicial ideas about gender played a role in this outcome. Would the Bill prohibit these important discussions, especially when the “real risk” test for undermining public confidence has been lowered to a mere “risk” test?

Similarly, to raise awareness about gender equality, we may comment on the social implications of ongoing proceedings. For instance, news reports frequently furnish illustrations of poorly understood aspects of sexual assault, e.g. how supportive family figures make a difference to victims, or how authority figures can abuse their power over minors. Discussing concrete examples while they are live in the public mind can improve public understanding of sexual assault, and thus create a more supportive environment for victims, in a way that more theoretical or historical discussion cannot. Sometimes we may even have to point to deficiencies in the law. It is hard to imagine that appropriately trained judges can be unduly influenced by AWARE raising such matters. Yet it is unclear if this kind of public advocacy would be caught by the Bill.

The uncertainty that well-intentioned commenters will face is exacerbated by the fact that it provides no defence for good faith comment, but lays out severe penalties – a maximum fine of $100,000, three years in prison, or both. By contrast, the Sedition Act provides for a $5,000 fine, three years in prison or both.

The Bill thus seems especially severe. In summary, while we strongly welcome and support the principles behind the Bill, we are concerned that it raises many complex questions that will affect the ability of ordinary people to engage in public conversation on matters of general interest. As highlighted in the Explanatory Statement at the end, it does not merely codify but also changes the law. For this reason, we hope that the government will do more to explain the parameters of permissible speech. In our view, a wider public consultation should have taken place before the Bill was introduced, and should still be instituted before it is passed.

We urge Members of Parliament to debate the Bill robustly at the second reading.