The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) urges the Commissioner of Hong Kong, Andy Tsang Wai-Hung, to cease
the government’s discrimination against the media and the maintenance of public
order as an excuse to restrict press freedom.
According to reports from various Hong
Kong media, Hong Kong Police have allocated a location relatively near to the
Chinese Liaision Office, the representative body of the Central Government of the
People’s Republic of China,
as a media zone for reporting on the commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
However, journalists have complained of
police discrimination in media access to the area. Police have only allowed journalists
from four selected television media outlets to enter the zone.
Patrick Kwok Pak-chung, Senior Superintendent
of the Police Public Relations Branch explained that only four TV stations
could enter the zone due to a lack of space. He further said that this
arrangement had been communicated to the Hong Kong Journalists Association
(HKJA) and that all print media organisations had been informed about the
arrangements. However, Mak Ying-Ting, Chairwoman of the HKJA, criticised the
Police for providing the information at the last minute, rather than engaging
in genuine consultations on the issue.
Lam Chun-tung, Chairman of the Hong
Kong Press Photographers’ Association, has also raised complaints of increasing
discrimination and harassment by Hong Kong’s Police. He also said
that Police had merely informed his organisation of the new arrangements, without
giving any details.
Over the last twelve months,
journalists were harassed, detained and arrested on a number of different
On March 25,
Poon Ching-Ki, photographer, was arrested by police while attempting to take a
photo of a public demonstration. Prior to this, two journalists including a citizen journalist were also detained and arrested while they were
taking photos of a rally on July 1, 2011.
On August 18, 2011, Sit
Ka-Kit, a camera operator with Now Television, was prevented by an unknown
person from filming the visit of Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to Laguna
City, Kowloon, Hong Kong. A police officer in uniform failed to act on Sit’s
complaint that he had been prevented from performing his professional duty, and
that the person responsible had refused to identify themselves.
The Security Panel of Hong Kong’s
Legislative Council held a special session to investigate police conduct operations
during the visit. During the meetings, IFJ proposed a number of recommendations
to improve relations between the media and police, but none were accepted by
the police. However, the Police did promise to continue to maintain clear communication
channels with the media.
“Based on the latest incidents, it is
clear that Hong Kong’s police have failed to
live up to their responsibility to maintain respectful and transparent relationship with the media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
“Rather they have increased
discrimination against media outlets and impeded the media’s ability to do its
job of reporting the news.
The creation of ‘media zones’ are
unnecessary in truly democratic societies where local authorities respect the press
The Hong Kong Police’s decision to
allocate ‘media zones’ indicates an intention to restrict media movement and a
clear misunderstanding of the principles of press freedom.”
The IFJ urges the Chief Executive of
Hong Kong to address growing concerns about restrictions on media freedoms in Hong Kong.
We request that the Chief Executive
instruct all senior government officials and police officers to fully recognise
and implement the rights to press freedom enshrined in Hong
Kong’s Basic Law.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131
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