Cap 268 - REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ORDINANCE 1
Chapter: 268 REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
Gazette Number Version Date
Long title 30/06/1997
To provide for the registration of local newspapers and news agencies and the licensing of newspaper distributors and
for matters connected therewith.
(Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 2)
[1 July 1951] G.N.A. 114 of 1951
(Originally 15 of 1951)
Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997
This Ordinance may be cited as the Registration of Local Newspapers Ordinance.
(Amended 15 of 1987 s. 3)
Section: 2 Interpretation 34 of 1999 01/07/1997
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 34 of 1999 s. 3
In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
"address" (地址) in the case of an individual means his residence or usual place of business, and in the case of a
corporation means the head office of such corporation within Hong Kong; (Amended 15 of 1987 s. 4)
"contravene" (違反) includes a failure to comply;
"editor" (編輯) means the chief editor if there are more editors than one, and includes any person acting as chief
editor or performing any of the usual functions of a chief editor;
"local newspaper" (本地報刊) means a newspaper printed or produced in Hong Kong; (Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 4)
"newspaper" (報刊) means any paper or other publication and any supplement thereto available to the general public
(a) contains news, intelligence, occurrences or any remarks, observations or comments in relation to such
news, intelligence, or occurrences or to any other matter of public interest; and
(b) is printed or produced for sale or free distribution and published either periodically (whether half-
yearly, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly, weekly, daily or otherwise) or in parts or numbers at intervals
not exceeding 6 months; and
(c) does not comprise exclusively any item or items specified in the Schedule; (Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 4)
"printed document" (印刷文件) includes every piece of paper, cloth or other similar material, bearing any words,
pictures or signs which were or appear to have been wholly or partly produced by any mechanical, electrical or
other copying process in Hong Kong and the collection of such pieces of paper, cloth or other material in any
bound or other permanent form but does not include-
(a) any document solely intended and solely used for a bona fide and ordinary commercial, professional,
social or administrative purpose; or
(b) any other document issued or used by any public body; (Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 4. Amended 51 of
1988 s. 2)
"proprietor" (東主) includes lessee;
"public body" (公共機構) has the same meaning as it has in the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Cap 201); (Added
51 of 1988 s. 2)
"Registrar" (註冊主任) means such officer as may be appointed by the Chief Executive to act as registrar of
newspapers, and includes any person appointed by the Chief Executive to act as deputy registrar of newspapers.
(Amended 34 of 1999 s. 3)
Cap 268 - REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ORDINANCE 2
Section: 3 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 5) 30/06/1997
Section: 4 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 5) 30/06/1997
Section: 5 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 5) 30/06/1997
Section: 6 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 5) 30/06/1997
Section: 7 Registration of local newspapers 30/06/1997
(1) Every local newspaper shall be registered in accordance with regulations made under section 18.
(1A) No local newspaper shall be registered under subsection (1) by a name which is identical with the name by
which another local newspaper is already registered. (Added 51 of 1988 s. 3)
(2) The proprietor of any local newspaper may at any time give notice to the Registrar that he desires the
registration of that local newspaper to cease and the Registrar shall, on the receipt of such notice, cancel the
registration of that local newspaper which shall cease to be registered from the date of such cancellation.
(Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 6)
Section: 8 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 7) 30/06/1997
Section: 9 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 7) 30/06/1997
Section: 10 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 7) 30/06/1997
Section: 11 Unlawful to furnish incorrect particulars 30/06/1997
Where any particular is by this Ordinance or by any regulation made thereunder required to be furnished and any
particular furnished by way of compliance with such requirement is incorrect, the person who certified the correctness
of such particular shall be deemed to have committed an offence against this Ordinance unless he proves-
(a) that he believed that the particular furnished was correct; and
(b) that he could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence have discovered its incorrectness.
Section: 12 Certified extract from local newspaper register to be
admissible in evidence
In any proceedings whatsoever against the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of any local newspaper, it shall
be lawful for the complainant or plaintiff to put in any entry in or certified extract from any register of local
newspapers kept by the Registrar in accordance with regulations made under section 18, either- (Amended 15 of 1987
(a) as evidence of the truth of the matters stated in such entry or extract; or
(b) as evidence that the particulars appearing in such entry or extract were furnished and certified by the
informant by whom they purport to have been furnished and certified.
Section: 13 Presumption as to printer 30/06/1997
In any proceedings whatsoever it shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed that the person whose name
Cap 268 - REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ORDINANCE 3
appears in any local newspaper or other document as the printer of that local newspaper or other document is in fact
(Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 9)
Section: 14 (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 10) 30/06/1997
Section: 15 Vicarious responsibility of proprietor, printer, publisher
On the trial of the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of any local newspaper, or the printer of any other
document, for any offence in which an ingredient is the publication of matter contained in any issue of such local
newspaper or in such document, the accused person shall be presumed to have published all matter contained in such
issue or in such document, as the case may be, unless he proves that the publication was made without his authority,
consent or knowledge, and that the publication did not arise from want of the due care or caution on his part.
(Replaced 57 of 1955 s. 3. Amended 15 of 1987 s. 11)
Section: 16 Service of process 30/06/1997
Without prejudice to any other method of service, any process whatsoever, civil or criminal, addressed to the
proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of any local newspaper shall for all purposes be deemed to be duly served if left
with some adult at or sent by registered post to the registered address of the office of the local newspaper.
(Amended 15 of 1987 s. 12)
Section: 17 Copies of local newspapers to be delivered to Registrar 30/06/1997
(1) The publisher or, failing him, the printer of every local newspaper shall, on every day on which that local
newspaper is published or on the day next following (other than a holiday), deliver or cause to be delivered to the
Registrar a copy of that local newspaper and of every published second or other varied edition or impression thereof.
(2) The copy of every local newspaper delivered to the Registrar under subsection (1) shall bear the signature,
full name and address of the printer or publisher thereof or the signature, full name and address of some other person
appointed and authorized by that printer or publisher for that purpose and whose appointment and authority have been
lodged with the Registrar.
(3) The Registrar shall keep in his possession the copy of every local newspaper delivered to him under
subsection (1) for a period of not less than 6 months after which time he may destroy or otherwise dispose of that
(Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 13)
Section: 17A Evidence for civil or criminal proceedings 30/06/1997
(1) Where any person requires a copy of a local newspaper delivered to the Registrar under section 17(1) to be
produced in evidence in any civil or criminal proceedings, the Registrar shall cause the copy of that local newspaper to
be produced in court at the expense of the person applying for it, or shall deliver the copy to that person taking
reasonable security for its return.
(2) A copy of a local newspaper produced or delivered under subsection (1) shall be sufficient evidence of any
matter or thing contained therein.
(3) Every proprietor, printer, publisher or editor of a copy of a local newspaper produced or delivered under
subsection (1) shall be deemed to be the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor respectively of all local newspapers
which are of the same title, purport or effect as the copy of the local newspaper so produced or delivered (any minor
variations being disregarded) unless the proprietor, printer, publisher or editor proves that those local newspapers were
not printed, published or editor by him or with his knowledge or consent.
(Added 15 of 1987 s. 13)
Cap 268 - REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ORDINANCE 4
Section: 18 Regulations 34 of 1999 01/07/1997
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 34 of 1999 s. 3
The Chief Executive in Council may by regulation provide for- (Amended 34 of 1999 s. 3)
(a) the registration of local newspapers and news agencies and their proprietors, printers, publishers and
editors and the keeping of registers for that purpose; (Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 14)
(b) the licensing of newspaper distributors upon such conditions as may be prescribed by regulation;
(c) the prohibition of the distribution of newspapers except by newspaper distributors licensed for that
(d) the regulation of the distribution with or in newspapers of documents not forming an integral part
(e) the supply by newspaper distributors to the Registrar of a copy of newspapers printed or produced
outside Hong Kong;
(f) (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 14)
(g) the particulars to be furnished in connection with registration or licensing, notification of any change
in the required particulars and the manner in which and the conditions upon which effect may be given
or refused to be given, to any such change;
(h) the manner in which the identity of the printer of any local newspaper or other printed document and
the time of printing or publication shall be established, and in particular for the printing of the printer's
name and address on local newspapers and other printed documents;
(i) the prohibition of the editing, printing, publication, possession and distribution of local newspapers
and other printed documents which do not comply with the requirements of any regulations made
pursuant to this section;
(j) the retention by the printer of copies of local newspapers and other printed documents, the particulars
to be inscribed on such retained copies and the production of retained copies to such persons as may be
(k) (Repealed 15 of 1987 s. 14)
(l) granting exemption from all or any of the provisions of this Ordinance or of any of the regulations
(o) anything which is by this Ordinance to be provided by regulation.
(Replaced 57 of 1955 s. 4. Amended 15 of 1987 s. 14)
Section: 19 Cessation of publication, etc. 30/06/1997
If any local newspaper ceases publication, or any news agency ceases to issue bulletins, for a consecutive period
of not less than 6 months, the registration thereof under any regulations for the time being in force shall be deemed to
(Added 57 of 1955 s. 5. Amended 15 of 1987 s. 15)
Section: 20 Penalties 30/06/1997
(1) Any person who commits an offence against this Ordinance shall be liable-
(a) on summary conviction to a fine of $5000 and to imprisonment for 1 year; and
(b) upon conviction on indictment to a fine of $15000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.
(2) Every printer or publisher of a local newspaper who contravenes the provisions of section 17 as to the
delivery of copies of such local newspaper at the office of the Registrar shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine
(Amended 15 of 1987 s. 16)
Cap 268 - REGISTRATION OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ORDINANCE 5
Section: 21 Amendment of Schedule 34 of 1999 01/07/1997
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 34 of 1999 s. 3
The Chief Executive in Council may, by notice published in the Gazette, amend the Schedule.
(Added 15 of 1987 s. 17. Amended 34 of 1999 s. 3)
Schedule: SCHEDULE 30/06/1997
[sections 2 & 21]
PUBLICATIONS EXCLUDED FROM DEFINITION OF NEWSPAPER
1. Academic journals.
3. Cartoons and comic strips.
4. Collections of photographic images (with or without captions).
5. Commercial advertisements and commercial advertising circulars and brochures.
6. Commercial circulars.
7. Company and partnership reports and company prospectuses.
8. Consumer information and reports.
9. Election pamphlets and posters.
10. Financial, economic and statistical reports.
11. Information sheets and newsletters relating to clubs, educational institutions, professional associations, societies,
trade unions and other organizations.
12. Maps, charts and tables.
13. Price lists.
14. Public speeches and statements.
15. Racing tips, racing form reports and other related materials.
16. Religious materials.
17. Sales catalogues.
18. Sheet music.
19. Trade catalogues and journals.
20. Travel brochures.
(Replaced 15 of 1987 s. 18)