IFJ Concerned by Attacks on Press Freedom in Hong Kong and Mainland China

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by two

separate attacks on media which occurred in Hong Kong and Mainland China last

week.

 

According

to reports received by the IFJ, four masked men entered the office of Hong Kong

news outlet Inmedia and smashed three computers, a television and chairs on

August 8. Chu Hoi-Dik,

Chairman of Inmedia, told the IFJ that the perpetrators were highly organised

and ‘professional’, having convinced employees of the media company to provide them

with the office street address. When they arrived, they reportedly told two

interns to move aside saying “We will leave when we finish.”  

 

Chu

said he believed that the incident was an attack on freedom of speech. The

media outlet had not received any threats preceding the attack, he added.

 

Inmedia

is an online-only media outlet established in 2004 and run by a group of former

journalists and activists. It is known for its independent reporting on issues such

as local Government, social justice and politics.

 

Inmedia

was recently found liable in a defamation case by the High Court of Hong Kong,

and has been ordered to pay compensation to the plaintiff - Hong Kong based press

group Oriental Daily.

 

In a

separate incident, on August 10, a cameraman for Hong Kong-based Asia

Television, was reportedly attacked by a number of plain-clothed policemen in Mainland

China, as he attempted to report on the alleged police cover uprelated to the

high profile case of Chinese politician Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai, who has been

charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

 

According

to Hong Kong media reports, the cameraman was blocked by a group of people preventing

him from filming a protestor outside the court. The attack left the cameraman with

injuries. It was reported that a number of uniformed policemen witnessed the

attack, but failed, or refused to stop it.

 

IFJ

affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HJKA), and other media

associations have condemned the brutal attack on the cameraman.

 

During

Gu Kailai’s trial, overseas and Hong Kong media were prevented from getting

close to the courtroom, and the Central Propaganda Department ordered that only

Xinhua’s articles on the trial be republished, effectively placing a ban on

independent reporting by the Mainland media. Microblog messages regarding the

case were censored.

 

Hong

Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying reportedly asked the Hong Kong Bureau in

Shanghai to follow up the attack on the cameraman, and demand the government of

Anhui to investigate the incident.

 

 

“We

urge Leung Chun-Ying to ensure that the authorities investigate these incidents

and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice” said the IFJ Asia

Pacific office.

 

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 

 

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