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In June 2019, Hong Kong erupted in protest over the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kongers to China. The demonstrations in June started peacefully and have intensified, becoming a call for free elections.
The media is playing an essential role in the protests, covering the evolving situation in Hong Kong, often risking their safety. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have monitored the situation since June, reporting on violations and calling on the government the ensure media freedom.
While reporting the media has faced ongoing challenges with IFJ and HKJA receiving reports of attacks, assaults, threats and intimidation.
The IFJ continues to call on the Hong Kong Government to ensure press freedom is respected and for authorities to guarantee the safety of the media.
Media violations recorded since June 10, 2019: 224 in total
Enforced Dissapearances: 3
Restricted media access: 48
March 8, 2020: Tseung Kwan O District - Reporter pushed in unprovoked attack
While covering an assembly in Tseung Kwan O district, a Cable TV reporter assaulted by a police officer in an unprovoked attacked. The police officer pushed the reporter with his riot shield and immediately fled while the reporter was on the ground.
March 8, 2020: Taipo District - Police attack journalists covering "illegal assembly"
Police attacked journalists with pepper spray covering what police stated was an illegal assembly in Taipo District.
February 29, 2020: Hong Kong - Police abuse journalists at meeting
A meeting on February 29 turned violent as riot police deployed tear gas at the crowd. According to the reports, riot police verbally assaulted and attacked journalists with pepper spray after requesting they move to Nathan Road.
February 21, 2020: Hong Kong - Employers undermine labour rights after COVID-19 outbreak
Commercial Radio Hong Kong requested their employees, to take unpaid leave due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
February 16, 2020: Hong Kong - Former leader calls for sacking of RTHK director
Former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying has called for the sacking of the director of broadcasting for Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
February 8, 2020: Tseung Kwan O - Reporter arrested during interview
During the unrest in Tseung Kwan O, while a journalist from Maddog Daily was filiming the face of the arrested persons and asking for their names, a police officer shouted, 'Black (Fake) reporter, arrest him!' The reporter was subsequently pushed to the ground, hit with a baton on the head, and arrested, despite having his journalists access card (issued by Hong Kong Infromation Service Department) displayed on his jacket.
February 8, 2020: Tseung Kwan O - Police direct attacks at journalists
During the unrest between police and civilians in a residential area (TKO), riot police and plain clothes officers pushed journalists aside. Numerous journalists and photojournalists were pepper sprayed by police despite following instructions to move other areas.
February 3, 2020: Wuhan - Government propaganda and silencing of journalists
Journalists in Wuhan working for Caixin, Phoenix news, and other state-approved news organizations have been ordered by the party's propaganda department to conduct a review of their coverage after their reports indicated that local officials sought to cover up the extent of the outbreak in its early stages. Journalists who had interviewed patients or their families, or reported on the large number of patients were left to fend for themselves at home due to a lack of resources, were therefore left out of official statistics, and were targeted for "review" by officials.
January 27, 2020: Hong Kong - Riot police sexually harassed reporter
A reporter from NBC said she was sexually harassed by a riot police. When she requested the police number of the offender, she was ignored and pepper sprayed in the face instead.
January 27, 2020: Mong Kok - Police disrupt journalists in reporting
Police dispersed a crowd of 200 in Mong Kok and searched prosters, voluntary firstaiders and journalists. Journalists were prohibted from recording this. Journalists were later dispersed to an area 100m away from the scene, where they were unable to see the area police surrounding and what was happening there.
January 24, 2020: Hong Kong - Authorities forcefully censor journalist
Zhang Ou Ya, a senior journalist of Hubei Daily, stated on his personal Weibo that the leaders of Wuhan 'should be replaced'. They were later forced to apologise to the Wuhan authority, and made to promise that they would not post any ‘bad’ or unverified messages.
January 19, 2020: Hong Kong - Police assault journalists
Police pepper sprayed journalists forcing them to retreat. A number of journalists went into a shop to treat their eyes, when a riot police violently pulled a female journalist out of the shop. Another reporter from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) tried to leave to which police responded by damaging their lens and pepper spraying them in the face. The RTHK spokesperson requested an explanation from police. The police replied that 'there were other persons near the journalists'; HKJA found no evidence of this at the time.
January 19, 2020: Admiralty - Police search journalist
A Stand News journalist was searched by police in Admiralty ahead of the Chater Garden protest. The search was live-streamed by the reporer. During the search, the officer displayed the journalist's press card in front of the camera for a minute.
January 19, 2020: Hong Kong - Police charge at reporters
Riot police dispersed a crowd following the dismissal of an assembly at Central. An officer pushed a reporter wearing a reflective vest near Charter Garden down. The reporter wore a gas mask and provided his press documentation to the police. After, police charged at people, pushing at least 3 reporters to the ground. document.
January 18, 2020: Lam Tin - Journalist attacked in shopping centre
Maddog Daily's Facebook page said that a journalist was pushed down stairs from behind in Ping Tin Shopping Centre in Lam Tin around 10 pm. He fracturered his left shoulder and arm and was hospitalized. Earlier, he notes being harassed and followed.
January 12, 2020: Hong Kong – Human Rights Watch Executive Director denied entry
Kenneth Roth, HRW Executive Director since 1993, has been denied entry into Hong Kong where he was to hold a press conference for the launch of the HRW Annual Report. Authorities claimed to be barring his entry due to ‘immigration reasons’. With the focus of the report to be on the Chinese government’s incessant refusal to uphold basic human rights principles, Roth states that his denial of entry into Hong Kong “vividly illustrates this problem”.
January 11, 2020: Hong Kong – 14 more secondary schools withdraw from debate competition
14 more schools have withdrawn from a debate competition for secondary schools, the Education Bureau being accused of stifling debate in the city. In December, at least four schools withdrew following pro-Beijingers condemnation of certain debate topics such as “Restructuring the police force does more good than harm” and “Hong Kong people should fight for Hong Kong independence”.
January 10, 2020: Hong Kong – Activist from Pro-Democracy group, Demosisto, arrested
Hong Kong police arrested 26 year-old Lily Wong on alleged charges of ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’ and ‘entering or remaining in precincts of Chamber’. Lily Wong had apparently been placed on a wanted-persons list by the police without her knowledge. Wong had been part of earlier protests against the bill and was one of nine arrested for a sit-in protest in the government headquarters in March last year.
January 4, 2020: Hong Kong – Photography professor who previously covered Hong Kong protests denied entry
Matthew Connors, Photography professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was barred from entry into Hong Kong, detained by officials for approximately five hours before being sent back to New York. Authorities stated that Connors ‘did not meet the immigration requirements’, failing to provide him with any further details. Connors had been detained in August of last year for failing to carry his passport or present a press pass near a protest site, however, does not believe this to be the reason for his entry-ban. He had been allowed entry into Hong Kong again in September, during which he captured photographs published in The California Sunday Magazine.
January 1, 2020: Hong Kong – Clearance operation in Causeway Bay severely hinders freedom of the press
Riot police reportedly continuously targeted reporters, asking them to present their press card, ID card and membership card during a blockade of the conflict. This blockade was expanded to surrounding streets, preventing media outlets to capture scenes and law enforcement actions, and compromising press freedoms.
January 1, 2020: Hong Kong – Reporter assaulted by Hong Kong riot police
A photographer of a magazine was reportedly assaulted, verbally and physically, in Wan Chai. A weekly report states that he had been shielded by police and fell to the ground injured, during which time the police dropped his mobile phone on the ground.
December 30, 2019: Hong Kong – 6,000 Police Officers in place for New Year’s celebrations
Over 6,000 police officer are to be deployed to monitor New Year’s festivities and have been instructed to “step up (their) efforts” against those who use violence. Over 6,490 people have been arrested within the last seven months, more than 2,500 of these people being students. One officer stated that the police would adopt a tougher approach than that over the Christmas period, with out-of-uniform officers posing as shoppers in shopping malls with the expectation of New Year’s Eve rallies in these malls.
December 26, 2019: Hong Kong - Police intercept reporter in Tai Po
Out-of-uniform police officers intercepted a reporter without displaying their police authorisation card. The officers proceeded to intentionally display the reporter’s Legislative Council press card, journalist’s press card and ID card on live camera for several seconds, breaching the reporter’s privacy. Such an act allegedly contravenes the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
December 24, 2019: Hong Kong – Journalists targeted during clearance operations on Christmas Eve
Journalists reporting in multiple districts of Hong Kong were abused, kicked and pepper sprayed, with their filming being purposely hindered. In Mong Kok, reporters were treated particularly rudely, with one reporter told to leave immediately otherwise they may be subject to a finding of ‘illegal assembly’. Two tear gas bombs were later fired in this reporter’s direction.
December 20, 2019: Hong Kong – Police attack journalists following Tsui Ping Shopping Centre shooting
Following the alleged firing of a live round at police officers in Tai Po, police fired tear gas to disperse the media and onlookers at the scene. A Stand News reporter’s camera was repeatedly hit by an officer claiming “I’m not hitting you”. One reporter’s hand and mobile phone was beaten and other reporters were pepper sprayed.
December 15, 2019: Hong Kong - University student journalist injured
A Hong Kong Baptist University student journalist was struck in the face by a suspected police projectile. His safety goggles were broken on impact, injuring his cheekbone. The student journalist was sent to hospital after being assisted by the first-aiders on the spot.
December 15, 2019: Mong Kok - Journalists dispersed and beaten by riot police
At 11pm on December 15 at Mong Kok, journalists covering the scene were dispersed by riot police. A photojournalist from Maddog Daily was shot by the police, pepper sprayed and surrounded by police before being beaten with a baton. The journalist was later arrested. MadDog Daily issued a statement stating 'the reporters were within their rights to be on the scene working and followed police orders to return to the pavement'. Police later claimed the photojournalists did not follow instruction of police.
December 13, 2019: China - Prominent journalist sentenced to jail
A court in the southwestern Chinese region of Guangxi has handed a 10-year jail term to He Linxia, the former head of a publishing company. He Linxia was charged with "embezzlement, taking bribes and privately sharing state-owned assets". His initial arrest was four years ago, just after he published a historical analysis on Mao Zedong.
December 11, 2019: China - Further restrictions on broadcasting
The Chinese Communist Party has taken further steps to tighten control over the country's internet with a proposed ban on livestreaming and orders to state-run organizations to replace foreign-branded computer equipment with domestic equivalents.The Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a draft set of regulations stating that webcasts must be delayed by at least three minutes before being broadcast. The regulations have been operative since December 22.
December 7, 2019: Hong Kong - Pro-Beijing groups harass journalists
Pro-Beijing groups held an assembly on December 7, where a number of journalists were surrounded and harassed. Journalists received verbal abuse being called 'black reporters', 'rioters', and 'cockroaches'. Despite journalists displaying their press cards to the demonstrators, they were labelled 'fake journalists'. Reports from HK01, TVB, Intium Media and Tai Kung Pao all reveal similar instances of their reporters being harassed by Proj-Beijjing groups.
December 4, 2019: Hong Kong - Media denied entry to event
Media agencies were denied entry, to an event which Carrie Lam and Wang Zhimin, the director of Central Liasion office attended and presented at. The event was a seminar on 'Chinese Constitution Day'. The media agencies, Stand News and Apple Daily were told 'only media invited were allowed to enter'. Stand News state they received an invitation to the event.
November 28, 2019: Hong Kong - Reporter indecently assaulted
HKJA received a complaint from a student journalist at the University of Science and Technology. The stuent states she was indecently assaulted by a male police officer when she was covering the assembly in Central. She complained to the police officer and a female commander, but says the matter was not handled properly. The student later filed an official report with the police.
November 17-20, 2019: Hong Kong - Reporters arrested and media censorship
Hong Kong police blockaded the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U). While student reporters were allowed to leave with the help from the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Hong Kong Photo Journalists Association, at least 13 student reporters or reporters from internet meda were arrested.
Police restricted media access on a 'one for one' basis, only letting one staff member enter as one left. Many freelance reporters that work for foreign media agencies who had to leave and recharge their batteries where not allowed to re-enter again.
November 19, 2019: Hong Kong - Epoch Times arson
In the early morning of November 19, four masked men stormed into Epoch Press, a print shop in Mong Kok that produces the daily Epoch Times in Hong Kong, threatened staffers with batons, and doused the company’s printing machines with gasoline and set them ablaze.
November 18, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalists harassed
Reporters from RTHK were requested to put up their hand, when they were changing shifts with other reporters. Guns were pointed at them by the police.
November 18, 2019: Hong Kong - Taiwan journalist arrested
Teng Cho-ju (鄧卓儒), a director for a TV show produced by Taiwan's Public Television Service (PTS, 公視), was arrested in Hong Kong whilst heading to Polytechnic University to shoot footage. No reason has yet been given for his arrest.
November 17, 2019: Hong Kong - Police verbally abuses journalist
A journalist from MingPao was reporting near PolyU, he was scolded and humiliated by police who called him a 'dead roach'. The police also pointed their flashlights into the reporters eyes.
November 17, 2019: Hong Kong - Reporters attacked and injured
A stand news reporters' foot was burnt by a petrol bomb. Another reporter from Stand News was hit by rocks, injuring his foot. A reporter from Reuters stabbed his foot on a nail from a nail block.
November 17, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalist hospitalised after being hit with a water cannon
A reporter from Mad Dog Daily was hospitalised after being hit by police with a water cannon. The reporter was found to have internal bleeding in his brain and he required surgery.
November 16, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalist harassed during police clearance operation
A journalist covering protests in Mong Kok in the early hours of Saturday during a police clearance operation was attacked by police. Riot police demanded all press leave a section of Portland Street. Following this, an officer pushed a reporter from Commercial Radio. The reporter continued to film and read the officer’s operational call sign – an identifying code – aloud. The officer threatened to arrest the reporter. The reporter walked away from the police officer. When the reporter was walking away, another police office launched a projectile towards the journalist. The projectile punctured the journalist's backpack and damaged their gas mask filter. A sponge grenade was found nearby. Luckily, the journalist was not injured.
November 12, 2019: Hong Kong - Reporter from student union hit by tear gas
A reporter from Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union Board was hit by tear gas in the face at Chine Univeristy of Hong Kong at bridge 2. The reporter sufferes an injury to the corner of his eye and his glasses were broken. He recieved treatment in hospital for minor injuries. No surgery was required.
November 12, 2019: Hong Kong - Gas cannister hits reporters
Police attempted to disperse protesters near Mongkok police station, deploying numerous tear gas cannisters which hit 3 reporters from Editorial Board CityU.
November 10, 2019: Hong Kong - Photojournalists and journalists attacked
Journalists and photojournalists from Television Broadcasts Limited were attacked after asking to show their press card.
November 8, 2019: Hong Kong - Police destroy journalist photography equipment
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has received reports of attacks on TVB News photographers, destroying their equipment. On November 8, the night before several people attacked a photojournalist, injuring their neck and foot. The photojournalists camera was destroyed by one of the attackers with an iron stick. The journalist was treated in hospital for their injuries.
November 3, 2019: Hong Kong - Two journalists arrested during shopping mall raids
Two journalists were arrested as Hong Kong police stormed shopping malls on Sunday. A freelance photojournalist working for Stand News, was arrested and handcuffed on suspicion of obstructing police as he was taking photos at the mall. Stand News said Kwok was at standing at a distance from police officers and did not obstruct their work. The news outlet condemned the arrest as unreasonable and demanded his immediate release.
A journalism student, who is a member of the Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Editorial Board, was also arrested at the mall whilst covering the news. The student claimed police threatened him with rape at the San Uk Ling Holding Centre when he was arrested. “I would not commit suicide,” the student shouted, in reference to a spate of recent deaths.
November 3, 2019: Hong Kong - Police raid mall and target journalists
According to photos from am730, shot teargas at journalists despite no protestors in the vicinity. Read IFJ statement here.
November 2, 2019: Hong Kong - News agency vandelised
Xinhua media Agency's office's front door was vandalised. The glass front of the building was broken and the lobby was set on fire. "Deport CCP criminals" was written on the building. Read IFJ statement here.
October 31, 2019: Hong Kong - Photojournalists targetted by police with chemicals
A photojournalist from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) was pushed by police and shot with pepper spray twice in his face while covering the protests. He received medical treatment at hospital. Another journalist was attacked by police while covering the protests at Prince Edwards with teargas and rubber bullets. A rubber bullet hit the journalist's waist and he received treatment in hospital.
October 30, 2019: Hong Kong - Alleged doxxing by police
A freelance journalist who protested the police briefing on Monday has accused the department of doxxing her after the incident. The journalist has been getting messages from unknown people, including threats of violence. They noted a photo of their press card was taken by the police and has been circulated around the internet. The freelance journalist said they suspects the photo was leaked by a police officer and she is considering legal action.
October 27, 2019: Hong Kong - Police contradict gornment mask regulation exemption
According to Apple Daily, there reporters were pushed by riot police when covereing the dispersal process of police. One of their reporters was asked by police to take off her mask. The police said "there is no smoke, take off your mask, 'antimask law has been enforced, you know, reporters have no exemption." After the reporter refused the request, the police suddenly tore her gas mask off from the back. This goes agains the government official statement which noted journalists are exempt when performing their work.
A reporter from Stand News received similar requests to remove their mask. Another reporter from Stand News was shot in the leg and treated by a first-aider.
October 27, 2019: Mong Kok - Police violence against journalists continues unabated
Freelance photojournalist May James was arrest after being asked to remove her face mask by police when covering a protest in Mongkok. Ms James identified herself as a journalist, was wearing a high-visibility yellow vest, a helmet and backpack marked as “press” and produced a press identification card when questioned. Read IFJ statement here.
According to Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), during the Mongkok dispersal, the photojournalist of RTHK was pushed by a riot police, his face mask was torn off and police hit his camera. The photojournalists was wearing identification including a vest with the RTHK logo. The spokesperson of RTHK said that, police also shot pepper spray at a group of reporters.
Additionally, tear gas was thrown throughout the weekend at gathered journalists on multiple occassions.
October 20, 2019: Mong Kok - Police verbally and physically abuse journalists
Several journalists have received verbal abuse from police. Police tactics escelated in multiple instances where riot police pushed and intimidated reporters by pointing their gun at them.
October 20, 2019: Hong Kong - Water cannon deployed and journalists targetted
According to several press reports deployed a water cannon truck to drive away protesters in Sham Shui Po on Sunday. Additionally, police targetted journalists by spraying them with blue dye.
October 14, 2019: Hong Kong - Now News driver attacked by police with bean bag gun round
A driver from Now News (HK) was hit by a bean bag round when he was walking to his car in the morning. He fell to the ground and was forecfully taken by police to the police station. The driver said he had identified himself a number of times, but was still beaten by the police. He was released after 2 hours. He has suffered numerous injuries and is awaiting surgery.
October 13, 2019: Hong Kong - Old newspaper office petrol bombed
Hong Kong Journalists Association received a report from its members at around 5pm that they had witnessed 4 - 5 people with their faces covered, breaking the door of the Kotak Building at North Point and throwing petrol bombs into it. The walls were grafitted with text meaning "Shame on Tai Kung". According to a recording, the pro-Beijing newspaper "Tai Kung Po" had previously occupied that office, but had just moved out.
October 8, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalists have masks forecefully removed by police
Following the implementation of the Prohibition of Face Covering Regulation ("PFCR") in Hong Kong on October 5, 2019, the HKJA sought clarification as to whether it applied to journalists. The authroties responded saying it did not. Despite this, journalists have had police order them to take off their masks, often in an agggressive manner. On occassions journalists have had hteir masks violently removed by police. These demands were made despite journalists displaying their press credentials and wearing high visibility vests and helmets marked "Press".
October 4, 2019: Wanchai - Radio Television Hong Kong journalist injured by molotov cocktail
Radio Television Hong Kong reported that one of its reporters suffered burns to the side of the face after a molotov cocktail alnded next to him while reporting at Hennessy Road in Wanchai. The journalist was clealry identifiable as a member of the press.
October 4, 2019: Hong Kong - Fake reports against HKJA
Hot on the heels of a Government announcement of an anti-mask law on October 4, a fake report claimed the Hong Kong Journalists Association “is racing against time to issue 10,000 press cards”. HKJA strongly condemns those unfounded rumours.
October 1, 2019: Mong Kok - Police arrest reporter for Local Press
Hong Kong police arrested a reporter for the Chinese-language news website Local Press, while dispersing protesters in Mong Kok, according to news reports and a statement posted to Facebook by Local Press. He was held at the Yau Ma Tei Police Station in Kowloon until evening of October 3, when he was released on bail
Police first accused Pang of unlawful assembly, but released him from detention after alleging that he assaulted a police officer and obstructed his work.
October 1, 2019: Tuen Men - Corrosive liquid splashed on journalists
In Tuen Mun, it is suspected that someone splashed erosive liquids, a number of journalists and photojournalists were injured.
October 1, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalists attacked by unknown objects
According to a spokesperson of Radio Television Hong Kong, their reporter covered a story at Wong Tai Sin, where the police pointed their guns at him to make him leave. Another photojournalists was shot by sponge bomb near Prince Edward Metro station, and his knee was injured. It was reported that he was wearing a reflective vest and there were no protesters around at the time of the attack.
October 1, 2019: Wong Tai Sin - Journailsts' threatened by police and shot at
According to a spokesperson of Radio Television Hong Kong, their reporter covered a story at Wong Tai Sin, where the police pointed their guns at him to make him leave. Another photojournalists was shot by sponge bomb near Prince Edward Metro station, and his knee was injured. It was reported that he was wearing a reflective vest and there were no protesters around at the time of the attack.
October 1, 2019: Hong Kong - Photojournalist attacked by police who then fled
According to "HK01", a photojournalist was pushed by police and fell down. The photojournalist requested for the identification number of the police office that pushsed, but the police just ask that officer to retreat.
October 1, 2019: Hong Kong - Stand News reports multiple attacks on journalists
According to the "Stand News", one of their reporters was hit by police whilst covering a story in Tsuen Wan. Stand News noted, another of their reporters was violently pushed by police near Jordan, after the reporter had complied with the police instructions. Another reporter was also struck in the face with a rubber bullet and went to hospital for medical treatment.
October 1, 2019: Hong Kong - Photojournalist shot by police with rubber bullet
A photojournalists from "the Next" magazine was shot twice by rubber bullets, luckily just lightly injured
October 1, 2019: Hong Kong - police attack journalists while dispersing protestors
On October 1, when police were dispersing protestors, they attacked journalists. According to Apple Daily, two female reporters tried to interview a person when they were shot at by police police. Luckily the two reporters dodged in time and were not hit
September 29, 2019: Wanchai - Journalists attacked in the eye and blinded
Indonesian Language publican, Ms Veby Indah, was seriously injured by a projectile fired from a police shotgun when she was covering a story at Wanchai. The projectile struck Ms Veby’s protective eye goggles from a distance of approximately 12 meters. The impact caused severe injury to her right eye, a cut near her right eye which required stitches and injury to her left eye. She received emergency medical treatment at the scene and was subsequently admitted to Hospital. The doctors later concluded Ms Veby has lost eyesight in her right eye.
September 24, 2019: China - Government introduces compulsory loyalty exam to earn press credentials
Last month, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department informed the media that starting from the end of the year, journalists will have to pass a compulsory loyalty exam towards the Party and President Xi Jinping in order to earn or renew their press credentials. The exam, whose details were revealed on September 18th on WeChat, will be conducted through XueXi QiangGuo ("Study Xi, Powerful Country"), a smartphone app launched in January to disseminate the President’s propaganda.
September 24, 2019: Hong Kong - Reporter doxxed and attacked
A reporter from Apple daiy was attacked on September 24. She had been working on live broadcasts of the Anti-extradition law protests. She was doxxed and received threatening calls to her phone. At the time of attack, eating food with a relative when she was suddenly attacked. Her relative was also injured. The attacker mentioned "Fat guy Lai" (the boss of Apple Daily), which means they are aware that she is a journalist.
September 24, 2019: Hong Kong - Chinese state-run media out let smear campaign against HKJA
The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet published a report containing a smear campaign against the IFJ’s Hong Kong affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), urging the IFJ to revoke HKJA’s IFJ membership. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) deplores this smear campaign against the HKJA to discredit the organization and the work of its members.
September 17, 2019: Reports doxxed and put in danger
A website was recently found to have posted purported personal information of reporters, including photos, date of birth, detailed information on his position, social media account, residential address and contact information on their website. These acts resulted in the personal safety of journalists being put at risk.
September 15, 2019: Student reporter arrested when covering protests
Student reporter So King-wah was arrested while reporting at the junction of King’s Road and Fortress Hill Road on September 15. So was wearing a helmet and west with "PRESS" printed on it at the time and was carrying a press card.
September 15, 2019: Journalists harassed by police at protest
After a large scale demonstration on Hong Kong Island on September 15, at around 8pm, a group of people fought at North Point district. A journalists was threatened with a plastic chair. A journalists was injured. The attackers were questioned by journalists why they attacked journalists. After 5 minutes, riot police arrived and separated the person suspected of attacking the reporter from the journalists. The police received a video clip of the attack and was requested to identify the suspect. Journalist's questioned the police as to why they released the attacker. Later, a policeman wearing a mask argued with the journalists, telling the journalists to "shut up" and that the police were handling the situation. The riot police then shone their torches in the journalists' faces.
September 9, 2019: Mongkok – journalists from MingPao was pushed onto the ground.
On 9 Sept, a journalists from Ming Pao was covering the conflict outside Mongkok Police station and firming a men kneeling in front of the police station. then, all in a sudden, man wore police vest, with face covered and held a shield yelled at the journalist and a photojournalist from SCMP told them to leave. The journalist from Ming Pao was pushed onto the ground. Then police officer did not apologise, and repeated said that the journalists fell by himself. A large group of riot police and plain clothes police surrounded the journalists, and tried to being the two journalists involved aside. The journalists from Ming Pao tried to ask for the identification number of the involved policeman for further complaint, but did not get any reply.
September 7, 2019: Mongkok – journalists injured by pepper spray
On 7 Sept, during an arrest action in Mongkok district, the police deployed pepper spray towards journalists on the spot, when there were no protesters around. A number of frontline journalists were injured.
September 5, 2019: Hong Kong – journalists’ union attacked by fake news.
A pro-government online media, Bastille post, posted an article titled "someone used the name of reporter as cover to attack police officers", claiming that, "everyone can get a 'journalists card' easily by just paying $20HKD to HKJA", which is definitely not true, HKJA restated that they has been reviewing every application of membership carefully.
August 31, 2019: Mongkok- Journalists violently attacked covering protests
The Hong Kong Police Force sent the Special Tactical Squad into Prince Edward MTR station at night, where many reporters and photographers were expelled during their reporting and filming without any reasonable explanation. The closing of the Prince Edward station barred any members of the press from entering the station for reporting, hence the lack of media monitoring on the police conduct inside the station.
Earlier in the evening, a number of reporters questioned the identity of an alleged police officer at Victoria Park, but none of them was given a response. A number of uniform officers immediately encircled about 10 journalists near a 5 meter by 2 meter planter near Victoria Park and cordoned them off. A female officer on-site explained that the police were conducting “special operations” and refused to let the reporters leave. The reporters were only allowed to leave after a number of alleged police officers had boarded a tourist bus and left, and the whole incident lasted for around 5 minutes.
August 26, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalists violently attacked covering protests
On August 24, HKJA recorded several violations against journalists and media workers as they covered protests across Hong Kong.
Global Times’ journalist Fu Guohao as medics removed him from the airport. Credit: Anthony Wallace/AFP
August 11, 2019: North Point - Journalists attacked covering protests
On the evening of August 11th, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association received several reports of journalists being assaulted. When a crowd was beating a man in black in North Point, a Ming Pao journalist attempted to approach and find out the details, but he was pushed away by the crowd and got punched on his left cheek as he tried to explain his intention. Journalists of Stand News and RTHK were disturbed by a crowd in North Point during reporting. The journalist of Stand News was threatened with a stick and had his tripod seized abruptly; the journalist of RTHK was assaulted by the crowd. There were police officers present nearby, but they did not make any arrest.
August 9, 2019: Hong Kong - Problems rising due to effects of tear gas
A poll carried out by a doctor has found that reporters who have been on the front line covering recent protests have reported stomach and skin problems due to the effects of tear gas.
August 5, 2019: Shum Shui Po - Journalist hit by tear gas cannister
During the attempt at the night of 5 August at clearing the Shum Shui Po area, police aimed tear gas at the scene on ground from a high-rise building. A documentary-shooting journalism student was hit in the head with a cannister from that attempt, causing severe bleeding from the head and subsequent fainting. Another on-site journalist was immediately arrested while protecting the said injured student journalist.
During the unrest at Kwai Fong on 30 July, all 5 reporters from Apple Daily Hong Kong, were hit by the pepper spray of the Police. One photojournalist wearing helmet were hit by the police with shield twice on his head and upper body, causing pain at his face and fell on the ground once. The police also chase and hit another female reporter wearing reflective vest and helmet with baton.
July 28, 2019: Sai Ying Pun, Sheung Wan - Journalists tear gassed
On 28 July there were serious clashes between police and protesters in Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan. While reporting the clashes, front-line reporters found the police had fired tear gas towards them multiple times. Some of the tear gas canisters exploded very close to them. A number of photojournalists were directly hit by the tear gas canisters and sustained injuries. A reporter was asked by a police officer to show her ID card. The officer claimed she was “assisting the riot”. During the series of large scale confrontations between police and protesters in the last month, reporters also found that police officers had frequently used strong light to point at reporters, obstructing their reporting and causing harm to journalists’ eyes. These actions have seriously undermined press freedom. We condemn these actions by the police against reporters and urge the police to immediately address the issues relating to the question of abuse of police power.
July 27, 2019: Yuen Long - Journalist shot in face with pepper spray
A police officer without a warrant shot a reporter with pepper spray in the face and ear. At the time there were no protesters just media. The reporter had to seek medical treatment at Tai Po Nethersole Hospital.
July 23, 2019: IFJ writes to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam amid ongoing violence against media
The IFJ remains extremely concerned about the recent spike in attacks against the media in Hong Kong and condemns the violence initiated by the authorities, particularly by the police, on journalists. They have failed to secure safety for journalists as well as for the citizens against vicious assaults, resulting in a serious infringement of press freedom. The IFJ reminded the Hong Kong government that as a region that has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), they have anobligation to protect freedom of expression and press freedom.
Police fire tear gas at protesters as the media watches on. Credit: Anthony Wallace/AFP
July 22, 2019: Yuen Long: IFJ condemns violence against the media as protests continue
According to a statement issued by IFJ affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), hundreds of masked assailants dressed in white assaulted residents, protesters, journalists and lawmakers at Yuen Long. The incident happened as anti-extradition bill protests ended. Two reporters were beaten and pushed to the ground, one of them left bleeding inform his mouth. Another reporter’s camera was thrown to the ground and damaged. At least one reporter went to hospital for medical treatment.
July 14, 2019: Shatin: Bus Terminal at Yuen Wo Road and Shatin Railway station
As police were clearing Yuen Wo Road, I decided to go to the backend and see how the protesters disperse. I was following 10 people, they tried to go one way, but the police ran at the and pepper sprayed and tried to arrest them. I was sprayed in the face, so I moved back and identified myself as a journalist. As the police started attacking one of the people I was following, I began to film (see video below). The police noticed my filming and started yelling 'Reporters!'. All of a sudden I was by myself and the police officers were yelling at me, 'You reports made the society a mess!'. I told them I didn't obstruct them, but they said 'Bullshit!'.
Later as I tried to leave the area I was blocked from going to the MTR and threatened with arrest.
July 13, 2019: Sheung Shui
I was wearing a yellow singlet and helmet, both has PRESS written on them. I was on the footbridge next to Sheungshui Plaza. Police were clearing the area and lawmakter Wun Siu Kin was arguing with police about a youngster who had almost fallen from the footbridge. The front of my body was hit by a police officer in a white uniform with a shield - See video below:
July 7, 2019: Shantung Street, Mongkok
I was wearing my press ID, filming a police pushback from Shantung Street. During the pushback, police swung their baton at the protesters, and I was hit on the head.
July 1, 2019: Ferwick Pier Street
In the early morning of 1 July, I was filming the police's clearance action that kept moving towards the LegCo on Ferwick Pier Street. Since it was messy and i could not leave promptly, I was trapped between the protesters and the police. During that time, the index finger that used to press the shutter was beaten by baton, my finger was swollen and lost sensation for a short while. I asked the protesters who are responsible for first aid for two packs of ice on the injured area. I also asked the St John's first aid team to check, and was sure that there were not fracture thus i did not see doctor immediately. I took another ice pack for my injured area. I went to the doctor on the next day. After taking X-ray, the crack at the second section of index finger was discovered. The doctor suggested me to rest for 2 months for recovery. At the time of the incident i was wearing my identification card, helmet, the newswear bag often used by photojournalists. I did not wear reflective vest.
June 24, 2019: Harcourt Road
Three police in plainclothes wearing vests from the Crime Squad of NT South Regional Headquarter, without warrant card, approached us and stopped us. They asked about the details and requested us to show our identification. We showed our press cards from our news agency, the press card issued by Hong Kong Photojournalist Association, the long-term press card issued by Legislative Council (the parliament of Hong Kong) and the press card issued by Central Government Office (CGO). One of the officers asked who issued the CGO press card to reporters. The reporter answered the administration department does. That officer said “I don’t know and won’t argue with you.” And released us after recording our details, but requested us to film at a position behind other reporters there.
June 17, 2019: HKJA lodge complaint to Independent Police Complaints Commission over media violations
HKJA lodged a complaint to IPCC concerning abuses against the press by police officers and call for setting up of an independent committee to investigate. Twenty-six journalists have testified on abuses against the press by police officers during the demonstrations against the Fugitive Transfer Bill, those abuses have not only caused journalists bodily harm but also infringed upon the press freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law. The Hong Kong Journalists Association called for the Chief Executive to set up an independent committee to ascertain whether top level order was the cause of these wide-spread and violent abuses. A complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) has also been filed by the union today to demand an investigation into individual cases.
June 13, 2019: Urgent motion against media violations in Hong Kong passed at IFJ Congress
At the IFJ Congress in Tunis, Tunisia - IFJ affiliates passed an urgent motion calling on the Hong Kong Government to guarantee press freedom and journalist safety during the protests in Hong Kong.
Police shot tear gas at a group of journalists on the overpass, then followed one journalist yelling at them and using physical gestures. They were threatening to load teargas and shoot at us. In footage the journalist shot with the tear gas can be seen with their arms in the air.
June 12, 2019: Legislative Council Complex
Police were dispersing protesters with tear gas and more than ten journalists including myself were taking photos of the protesters while taking cover next to the green-zone. I wore a helmet with the word "PRESS" and a safety vest with the word "MEDIA". All the media I was with had identification on their clothing. All of a sudden, my eyes were burning, I thought it was because of the tear gas brought by the wind, then I lost my eyesight. I could only leave holding the arms of my fellow reporters. I didn't know I got hit. I only learnt it later that a police officer sprayed liquid tear gas on my head.
June 12, 2019: Harcourt Road
I was taking footage of a group of riot police spraying pepper spray on protesters who had tripped and fallen over. I was stopped by police officers wearing black vest and told to leave. I put down my camera and said I would leave from the side, but one of the people in black vest waved the baton and shouted at me. I identified myself as a reporter and walked away. Yet, six police officers came to surround me right away and three of them pointed to my belly with their batons, and one of them was video-taping the process. I showed my press pass, then I was asked to present my identity card. The officer gave up asking for my ID card after knowing it was in my backpack, and turned to the Apple Daily reporter in safety vest standing next to me, looking for press pass again. Among the police officers I met, six did not display their Police Warrant Card and one put it inside a transparent pocket on the vest.
June 12, 2019: Junction of Queensway and Justice Drive
Police were dispersing protesters towards Wan Chai along Queensway. I stayed behind with other journalists to film. A special tactical squad suddenly ran at us shouting 'no stay behind'. We raised our press ID and said 'press, press' while moving a few steps to Justice Drive. The squad kept charging at us, waving their batons. We turned around and walked up Justice Drive. The police continue to chase us, one officer hit my backpack, only stopping when I started to run. My waterbottle and laptop were damaged.
June 12, 2019: Entrance to Wung Lo Road Tunnel - Journalist harassed by police
I was up a ramp at the entrance of Lung Wo Road Tunnel recording the proceedings when a team of full gear riot police charged on to disperse demonstrators. By the time they reached me, most protestors had gone. Wearing my press vest, I identified as a journalist, but a riot police officer retorted with swear words “Reporters, so what? Just fxxking go!” and started hitting my backpack with his baton.
June 12, 2019: Harcourt Road, Lippo Centre - Media searched by police
I was instructed by my editor to record proceedings along Harcourt Road. I was wearing my press credentials at all times. When I almost reached Lippo Centre, a police officer looked me in the eye and said “Boy, come over for a body search and identity check.” in Chinese. I immediately identified myself as a member of the press, prompting a group of more than 10 anti-triad officers to demand my standing in front a wall during the ID check. I cooperated and started filming the proceedings, but an anti-triad officer caught my hand and started slapping my mobile phone that was recording. I queried the reason for the stop and search as my news gathering was legal, with my credentials displayed prominently all along. He claimed never knowing I was a reporter and my press card wasn’t front facing, to which I rebutted and stressed his words were contrary to facts. The officer conducting the search asserted it was too dark to see clearly and started pronouncing my personal details (ID card number, name in Chinese and how it is spelt in English) in a very loud voice into my recording. As no contraband was found in my possession, but only a personal computer, gear for news gathering and a folding umbrella, I was released about 10 minutes after.
June 12, 2019: Lippo Centre - Journalist shot by rubber bullet
I was under the bridge between the PLA headquarters and the Lippo Centre, there were only a few protestors nearby. I was preparing to send photos to the newsroom. I was facing the police defensive line, busy dealing with the camera and the phone. Suddenly after hearing a loud bang, my left ankle was hit by a rubber bullet or a bean bag round, leaving a semi-circular bloodmark and swelling on the foot. I fell on the ground with limited mobility. I was then sent to the hospital for treatment. Doctor examined the wound and concluded the wound is three to four centimeters in diameter, my foot was swollen with bruises, and need to rest for a week. At the time of the incident, I wore a helmet with the word "PRESS", I was also wearing a gas mask and a press pass. Although I did not wear a reflective vest, the police knew that I was a reporter and I have been cooperating with the police.
Hong Kong journalists dressed in high visibility jackets and helmets during a police press conference to protest what they said was excessive force used against them during the June 12 clashes between police and protesters against a controversial extradition law proposal, in Hong Kong on June 13, 2019. Credit: AFPTV
June 12, 2019: Harcourt Road - Journalist pepper sprayed
When the police started clearing Harcourt Road, I identified myself as a reporter and stood aside to avoid obstructing their work. But the police still kept pushing me, and sprayed pepper water on my head and my face. I didn’t feel well. Three to four police officers even pushed me to a road partition, forcing me into traffic coming in the opposite direction.
June 12, 2019: Outside CITIC Tower, Tim Mei Road - Media tear gassed, equipment damaged
When protestors ran towards Central on the Harcourt Road Flyover, riot police fired tear gas from the ground. Police officers explained they did it because they could not identify the people on the bridge. But only reporters were on the flyover, they were between protestors and the police. Police fired tear gas towards the link point equipment, used for signal transmission purposes, when they were clearing Lung Wo Road/Legislative Council. We had to abandon our equipment and fled from the scene. On the flyover, protestors were retreating, and police were playing catch-up, they kept throwing out tear gas, regardless who was in front of them.
June 12, 2019: Outside CITIC Tower, Tim Mei Road - Police fire tear gas at media
Police has finished dispersing most protestors and I was walking towards Harcourt Road with four to five reporters. Everyone of us wore vests with the word “PRESS”. The police fired tear gas to us.
June 12, 2019: Outside Central Government Complex - Media tear gassed by police
I was on Tim Mei Avenue after leaving the Legislative Council Complex, and the police fired a couple of tear gas shots to protestors staying on the Avenue. A number of fellow reporters and I approached the police squad to take photos as they reorganised themselves. That was the moment when police threw tear gas at us with no protestors in sight. Some reporters ran away, some stayed behind to take pictures. The police could not have mistaken us as protestors. The protesters had retreated and the whole row standing there were journalists. (I only dared to record footage on the driving lane because of the whole journalist gang there.) But police fired tear gas on us anyways. The police could not have mistaken us for protesters as the protesters had retreated 10 meters behind us. We were obviously holding cameras.
I and a few journalists went to the driving lane closer to the CITIC Tower. With riot police approaching, we continued our reporting standing right next to the building. But still, a police officer shouted at us “walk!” and pushed us. “Don’t push me, I can walk!” I shouted back, then the police officer stopped pushing me. Riot police also shouted at us and ordered us to walk.
June 12, 2019: Hong Kong - Journalist pepper sprayed
I wore my press pass and held a camera in my hand. As I was covering the conflict between protestors and Hong Kong Police, I have been pepper-sprayed and had to handle my wound in the buffer zone. I removed my helmet, facial mask and goggles, and a couple of Hong Kong reporters and first-aiders helped to clean my wound.
Credit: Vivek Prakash/AFP
June 12, 2019: Admiralty Drive, near Justice Drive - Journalist harassed by police
A team of special tactical squad was clearing the site towards the east while I was taking videos with my mobile phone to their right hand side. I was wearing a helmet with the word “press” printed on both front and back end, a CRHK reflective yellow vest printed with CRHK logo and “press” on my chest. I have been pointing to the press sign on my forehead with my left hand from the very beginning while shooting video with my right hand. All of a sudden, the police tried to drive me away. I have repeatedly identified myself as a reporter at the top of my voice but was told “fxxk your mother journalist”. I gave up shooting and turned around to leave. A police officer hit my right elbow. I kept running, shouting “I’m a reporter”. The police stopped finally. As far as I know, police hit the backpack of a fellow newspaper reporter, which caused damage to the screen of his laptop.
June 12, 2019: Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building, Connaught Road Central - Police fire tear gas at media
A special tactical squad of 7-8 people was driving protesters from Harcourt Road to Connaught Road Central. Tear gas had been fired earlier, so there was about 100 meters between the police and the protesters. Several reporters were in front of the police, walking towards Connaught Road. The police ordered the media to leave. We were walking away when there was a bang behind us, they had fired tear gas at us and a bullet flew past me. I was shocked and lost my hearing for a short time. I turned around and police officer who had fired the tear gas was less than 4 meters away from me. I immediately left the scene.
June 11, 2019: IFJ calls for guarantees for media safety during protests
As over a million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the government’s controversial extradition bill on June 9, a number of journalists were blocked and barred from covering the protests.
June 11, 2019: Admiralty MTR - Media blocked from filming
I arrived at Admiralty Station where several people were having their bags searched by police. I began filming the scene. A police officer approached me and said I couldn't film inside the MTR without prior approval. The police officer then told me to move back not to film personal information of those being searched. I moved back but kept filming, so the officer stood in front of camera.
June 10, 2019: IFC Footbridge - Journalists harassed by police
A group of police officers carrying shields were advancing on a group of journalists, shouting and abusing them. There were no protesters in the area. Each journalist was wearing a reflective vest or press ID.
June 10, 2019: Tamar Park - Media harassed by police
As I arrived at Tamar Park police were already trying to disperse the media and protesters. I saw two photojournalists from Oriental Daily and Ming Pao ask to head towards the LegCo via Tamar Park. The police rejected the request telling them to walk forward and pushing them with their shields
June 10, 2019: Tamar Park - Media harassed by police
As we were covering a protest at Tamar Park, police started harassing us including insulting us, obstructing our reporting, pulling on our equipment telling us to leave. They also block us from turning on our lights as we were recording, and pointed bright lights into the camera to void the recordings.
June 10, 2019: Central Habour front and Central Pier - Media blocked
As police started pushing protesters back, they began shouting at the media 'Being a journalist doesn't mean you can do whatever you want' and pushed them with shields to disperse them. They pushed the media towards the footbridge near IFC, creating a defence line right and left, blocking the media from leaving. The media were blocked for 30 minutes despite all protesters already left.
June 10, 2019: Junction at Lung Wo Road and Lung Hop Street - Media denied access to protesters
Police started to disperse protesters along Lung Wo Road towards the Convention Centre. Those left at Lung Wo Road were reporters and identified themselves. However police installed a defence line blocking access to the Arts Centre, blocking access to the protesters.
June 10, 2019: Old Wan Chai Police Station - Journalist attacked by police
During a shoot outside the Old Wan Chai Police Station I became separated from my cameraperson. As I tried to cross the street to reach them I was surrounded by 5-6 police officers who were pushing my with their shields. I immediately identified myself as a journalist, however they did not stop. When they finally stopped my wrist was swollen and red, requiring medical attention and an X-ray.
Over a million people took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest the proposed extradition bill tabled by the Hong Kong government. Credit: Philip Fong/AFP
June 10, 2019: Legislative Council - Media blocked by police
During a confrontation at the Legislative Council officers from the Special Tactical Squard arrived, they asked the press to cease reporting and vacate the area. At about 10pm conflict broke out and it became unsafe for the press. When press requested to leave, the request was denied by the police, pointing their batons forcing the press back to the area of conflict. At about 1.30am, police attempted to move the protesters and the press on, and even when the press identified themselves they were told by the police they had to leave.
June 10, 2019: Tamar Park - Journalist assaulted by police
We placed our equipment at the roundabout outside the Legislative Council. As I was waiting with my correspondent for the cameraperson we were ordered by police to immediately leave the area without warning. As we started moving towards Tamar Park I was dragging heavy equipment up a hill. The police used their baton to strike the equipment and yell at us to ran faster up the hill. Once we reached the park we tried to conduct some interviews but we pestered by the police and told to move along.
June 10, 2019: Near Chief Executive Office, Hong Kong - Journalist harassed by police
I encountered a police defence line, maintaining 5-6 meters from the police shield squad. There were less than 10 protesters nearby. The police continued to advance, shouting at the protesters 'Runaway ASAP'. I started to film a 'live' on my mobile phone, maintaining my distance. As the protesters dispersed, the police focused on me. I pointed to my 'press' armband and said I was working. The police shouted at me, 'reporters do not have special privlege'. I was pushed back several times. I showed my press ID and said I have no intention of obstructing police. I asked where I could stand to be out of their way. The police said 'you get out of our way'. A police officer then tried to grab my press ID. When I resisted they accused me of possessing weapons and searched my bag.
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