Mo Man Ching And Another v Eastern Express Publisher Ltd. And Another

Court:Court of Final Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:FAMV4/1999
Judgment Date:30 Apr 1999
FAMV000004/1999 MO MAN CHING AND ANOTHER v. EASTERN EXPRESS PUBLISHER LTD. AND ANOTHER

FAMV000004/1999

FAMV No. 4 of 1999

IN THE COURT OF FINAL APPEAL OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS NO. 4 OF 1999 (CIVIL)

(ON APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL

FROM CACV NO. 178 OF 1998)

_____________________

Between:
MO MAN CHING also known as CLAUDIA MO 1st Applicant
SECRETARY FOR JUSTICE on behalf of THE DIRECTOR OF BROADCASTING 2nd Applicant
AND
EASTERN EXPRESS PUBLISHER LIMITED 1st Respondent
ORIENTAL PRESS GROUP LIMITED 2nd Respondent

_____________________

Appeal Committee: Mr Justice Litton PJ, Mr Justice Ching PJ and Mr Justice Bokhary PJ

Date of Hearing: 30 April 1999

Date of Determination: 30 April 1999

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D E T E R M I N A T I O N

_______________________________

Mr Justice Bokhary PJ:

1. This application for leave to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal arises out of a libel action. The action was brought by two newspaper publishers: Eastern Express Publisher Ltd ("Eastern") and Oriental Press Group Ltd ("Oriental"). Their action was brought in respect of a television programme. It was the episode of the Cantonese current affairs programme called "Media Watch" aired on the evening of 11 March 1995. Two persons were sued. One was Miss Claudia Mo, who was one of the two presenters of the programme. The other person sued was the Director of Broadcasting, who was the producer of the programme.

2. Two statements made by Miss Mo in the course of the programme were the subject-matter of complaint.

3. The findings of Yuen J, who sat without a jury, were as follows:

(1) Neither statement referred to Eastern.

(2) Both statements referred to Oriental.

(3) The first statement was not defamatory.

(4) The second statement was defamatory, the sting of the libel being that Oriental resorted to defamation proceedings against its critics in order to intimidate would-be critics into silence.

(5) Justification failed.

(6) Fair comment succeeded.

(7) If Oriental had succeeded, the damages would be $80,000.

Accordingly the action was dismissed with costs: Eastern failing on the initial issue of identification; and Oriental failing on the ultimate issue of fair comment.

4. Eastern and Oriental took the matter to the Court...

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