Frequently asked questions on Webb-site Reports
Note: for FAQ on the Webb-site Who's Who database, click here.
- Does Webb-site Reports breach privacy laws?
- Will you delete published reports?
- How do I report an error in your reports?
- Where is Webb-site published?
Of course not!
All of the articles on Webb-site are reports of public information, or if we are reporting breaking news (information not already available), then it is information which there is a legitimate public interest in reporting, just like any other media entity, including newspapers, magazines, radio or TV, whether online or offline.
No. Article 27 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's constitution, protects freedom of speech, of the press and of publication. It is a key element of the rule of law, and one of Hong Kong's greatest assets.
Our policy is that if information has been legally published and we have reported it on Webb-site, then we will not delete it or redact it, because that would leave some members of the public (including us) with legally-obtained information that others do not have, unless they can find it in other media archives.
For example, if a law enforcement agency issues a media release naming people charged with or convicted of offences, then the facts of the charge or conviction enter the public domain. The purpose of the media release is publication so that it may be read and reported, and reporting it on Webb-site or other media has the same purpose. A person does of course remain innocent unless proven guilty.
Similarly, if a published court ruling names the parties, or contains information from which the parties are identifiable, or they are otherwise known, then (in the absence of an injunction) we and other media are entitled to report it and to archive our reports. In another example, if a law requires that filings of political donations are made available to the public, then we will not delete them even if they are no longer available from the source.
This policy applies even if the source subsequently redacts its own archives. Newspapers and other online media may have reported the same information, in which case the information will remain in their archives, and in ours. Copies of original media releases and judgments can often be found in libraries, online or offline, and often in search engine caches and internet archives. It is simply impractical to try to reverse the arrow of time and withdraw published information into an "unpublished" state, removing it from every archive or library, deleting it from human knowledge, or forbidding the repetition of it, whether online or in person. We will not create Orwellian memory holes. It is true that the internet has made published information more accessible than ever before. That is not a reason to censor it.
However, if information has been illegally published (for example, an illegally-uploaded bank file in a security breach), then unless there is an outweighing public interest, we would not report it in the first place. Examples of an outweighing public interest include, but are not limited to, situations in which the information exposes wrong-doing or conflicts of interest. Examples might include a corruption payment, or a hidden related-party interest in a corporate transaction.
We welcome reports of errors for correction. Just click here to fill in the form, and please provide as much information as possible, including links to any source material.
You are reading Webb-site Reports delivered to you from a server in Chicago, USA, and it is accessible in all good countries and territories via the internet. Our occasional newsletter is published from the same place. We edit the publication from Hong Kong, but we could just as easily do so from many other places.