The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) criticizes the actions of the Hong Kong Police against a number of journalists covering a protest in Yuen Long on March 1. The IFJ reports that police deviated from Police General Orders and used pepper spray on the journalists covering the incident.
At least four journalists from Hong Kong Asia Television, Cable Television and Ming Pao were pepper sprayed by police as they were covering a protest of around 100 people against parallel trading business in Yuen Long. Kwong Chu, a journalist with Hong Kong Asia Television, was pepper sprayed by <g class="gr_ gr_28 gr-alert gr_spell ContextualSpelling" id="28" data-gr-id="28">policy</g> even as he identified himself as a journalist. Hong Kong Asia Television issued a statement criticizing the incident.
The Hong Kong Police said that use of pepper spray against the journalists was an “accident”.
The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The reasoning given by the police is hardly convincing given there is footage showing Kwong been sprayed by one officer as he spoke to another. It is clear that the police violated Charter 39 of the Police General Orders, which states that police have a duty to assist <g class="gr_ gr_30 gr-alert gr_gramm Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" id="30" data-gr-id="30">press</g> to exercise their duties when they are reporting.”
Last year, the IFJ was among a list of several local and international media organisations who expressed their concerns over the increased use of force by the police against journalists during the Occupy Movement in last 2014. The IFJ has again called on the Police Commissioner of Hong Kong, Andy Tsang, to investigate the attack and take necessary action to ensure the police are appropriately disciplined and trained on the rights of journalists.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific