The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Macau Journalists Association (MJA) in condemning security guards at the University of Macau for physically preventing a journalist from photographing a student making a silent protest.
Choi Chi-chio, the deputy publisher of Macau Concealers, an online media outlet, was dragged out of the university’s congregation hall on June 21 when he was taking a photo of a female graduate who was holding up a placard during the congregation ceremony. The placard said: “Support scholars to speak up. Please stop persecution of scholars.”
Choi told the IFJ that he and a camera operator from a local television station were trying to film the graduate. A security guard blocked his path and pushed down his camera.
“Several security guards immediately pulled me from behind, but they did not interrupt the other cameraman. I neither disrupted the ceremony nor blocked anyone, but only took a photo. How could I interrupt anyone by merely taking photos?” Choi said.
Some journalists were initially not allowed to return to the congregation hall when they reported on Choi’s condition outside the hall. His neck was bruised and his glasses were broken.
The MJA condemned the University of Macau and its security guards for using unreasonable force and trying to suppress the truth. In a statement, the MJA said the journalist tried to take photos from a distance and did not disrupt the proceedings.
The University of Macau was clearly restricting press freedom. We support the MJA in demanding that the university investigate the case and report its findings to the public.
We also urge the University of Macau to issue an apology to Choi.