The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
is deeply concerned by reports the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong
Kong, the primary agent for the Mainland Central Government in the
territory, has interfered with the reporting of election of the new Chief
Executive of Hong Kong by the local media.
A senior staff member for a Hong
Kong newspaper, who wished to remain anonymous, informed IFJ that they
had received numerous telephone calls from the Chinese Liaison Office during
the last two weeks. In these calls, it is claimed representatives from the Liaison
Office castigated the newspaper for reporting previous allegations that the
Office had attempted to influence the members of the election committee in
their selection of Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive.
The Office representative also reproached the
newspaper for its in-depth investigative report on one of the candidates,
Chun-Ying Leung, who is widely favoured for selection as the next Chief
Executive of Hong Kong.
Another publisher, who is one of the members of the
election committee, told IFJ that they also received calls from Chinese Liaison
“They didn’t mention the name of which candidates
they support, but they clearly expressed their view point”, he said. “Initially
they stressed the importance of ‘experience’ and ‘temperament’, however they later
changed and said ‘popularity’ is the key when we cast our votes.”
“I believe they
called members of the election committee with the aim of influencing our
decisions”, he added.
According to several local media reports, one of
the candidates for Chief Executive, Mr Albert Ho, said he had also received a
complaint from a local newspaper that it had been placed under pressure by
telephone calls from the Chinese Liaison Office .
On March 25, 2012, Hong Kong’s
Election Committee will elect one of three candidates as the next Chief
Executive of Hong Kong. So far, the campaign has been full of personal attacks.
At the same time, the impartiality of the Hong Kong
media has been questioned. According to a survey conducted by the Chinese University
of Hong Kong, more than 30% of the public do
not trust the media’s reporting on the elections. The survey, conducted from
March 12 to 20, found that only 10% of the 2,733 interviewees felt Hong Kong’s media practised balanced reporting.
Mak Yin-ting, Chairperson of the Hong Kong
Journalists Association, an IFJ affiliate, expressed her disappointment at the
quality of media reporting on the elections in an interview with MingPao Newspaper, claiming that many
media outlets have exercised bias in their coverage.
“The media has a duty to reflect the truth to the
public and stay impartial without any prejudice.” IFJ Asia-Pacific office said.
“Any attempt by governments to interfere in the
independence of the media, and unduly influence their reporting, is
The IFJ urges Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of Hong
Kong, and Raymond Tam, Secretary of the Constitution and Mainland Affairs
Bureau, to investigate the allegations of political interference into Hong
Kong’s media and ensure that press freedom is protected in Hong
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on (+852) 91459145
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131
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