Hong Kong: Government accused of omitting sensitive content from press conference transcript

The Hong Kong government was accused of omitting sensitive questions in the official transcript of a press conference held after a major protest in the city. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), together with its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) urges the government transparency on its reporting and for amendment of the official transcript of the press conference to accurately reflect the proceedings.

Protesters held posters with the images of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Credit: AFP

Hong Kong CEO, Carrie Lam, held the press conference on July 3 following a break-in by protesters into the Legislative Council Building on the evening of July 2. However, in the official transcript of the press conference, HKJA determined that four sensitive questions asked by reporters were omitted. These were:

  1. Some protesters who broke into LegCo said that they did the action as if they were dead.  Do you think you are responsible for this?  Since the government did not react to the requests of its people, they did that ‘as if they were dead?
  2. (Chief Executive) you said that a seat has been reserved for you at the heaven, do you think you face the family of the three citizens who committed suicide*? Do you still think there is a seat for you in heaven, or you have to go to hell?  (*Note: Three Hong Kongers who committed suicide in the past month left a note that they would use their death to “wake up” the government)
  3. Can’t you see some people died due to this series of incidents?
  4. Some people said that this incident occurred as you, the (Chief Executive) didn’t listen to your people, how would you react on that?

Lam did not respond to the questions in the 4am press conference. HKJA pointed out the importance of the official transcript to be free of manipulation, especially given members of the public relied on it for information due to the press conference being held during the early hours of the morning.

HKJA said journalists asked four questions on whether Lam felt the lack of response on the part of the government had played a role in the suicides of three people whose suicides, whose deaths have been linked to the anti-extradition movement. They also asked if she would face their families.

HKJA said in a statement that the government must explain the reason immediately for the questions being omitted. It said the Lam administration must “explain the standard for choosing which questions from reporters are being published. Regardless of whether the chief executives or official responded, if the questions are tough, the questions and answers must be recorded and released without any intentional editing, in order to protect the public’s right to know,” it said.

The IFJ has requested the Hong Kong government to provide reasonable explanation to the media.

IFJ said: “The Hong Kong government should do its best to protect freedom of expression and the right to information of its people.  The government has the obligation to provide a full record of its meetings and press conference to the public through accessible channels."

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

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

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