Hong Kong: Police attack journalists, block reporting in Hong Kong

Police attacked journalists and denied their right to report during a police operation to disperse protesters taking part in a peaceful rally to the China express rail station on July 7. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) express ongoing concern over police intimidation and the use of excessive force during Hong Kong’s current political upheavals and protests.

Police charge down a street in the Mong Kok district in Kowloon during a rally to the West Kowloon rail terminus. Credit: Vivek Prakash/AFP

Demonstrators took to the streets in Mongkok, Hong Kong, to take part in the rally to the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminal. Participants in the rally were demonstrating against the proposed Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 that, if passed, could result in Hong Kong residents as well as visitors being sent to Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for trial.

Police interference with journalists reporting from the scene turned violent in the late evening as police began dispersing demonstrators off Nathan Road, according to a statement co-issued by Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA).

Although the journalists wore reflective ‘press’ vests and carried press cards, they were pushed and denied from reporting, the HKJA and HKPPA said in the statement. In one incident, a HK01 photojournalist reporting live from Nathan Road on an argument involving tourists was elbowed in his stomach by a female police officer. In another incident a female journalist from Apple daily was pushed by a male officer and accused of charging the police during her reporting. The IFJ and its affiliates have documented an ongoing pattern of police violence directed at media during the extradition bill protests and remain critical of Hong Kong’s flawed complaints procedure. The UN Committee of Torture has previously urged Hong Kong’s government to set up ‘a fully independent mechanism mandated to receive and investigate complaints against all officials' in a 2015 concluding observation. To date, no action has been taken.

The IFJ said: “The obstruction of journalists by police remains a key concern and the IFJ urges authorities to answer to the concerns for media freedom in Hong Kong. We reiterate the call for a full and comprehensive review of current complaint monitoring procedures in regards to police behavior during the Hong Kong protests.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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