Hong Kong: IFJ condemns smear campaign to discredit HKJA

The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet published a report yesterday about 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.

The HKJA have been vocal in their calls to the HK government to guarantee press freedom and safety during the protests that have taken over the city since June. Credit: HKJA

The Global Times, an English media owned by the state-run People’s Daily, published an article on September 23, which referred to a ‘campaign’ launched by several Hong Kong journalists against the Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA), and requested the IFJ to revoke HKJA’s membership. The journalists behind the campaign remain anonymous, and the accusations referred to against the HKJA on the campaign website [saynotohkja.mystrikingly.com], are not based on solid evidence, some are based on the disinformation by other state-run media.

The IFJ is aware of attempts to discredit HKJA, having received several complaints since June from anonymous emails. The complaints are almost identical in language and issues referred to, raising questions about their authenticity. The IFJ strongly condemns attempts to discredit professional journalist unions such as the HKJA, as well as the broader work of the journalist community with attempts to legitimise the authorities’ attacks against the media or suppress press freedom.

The IFJ said:"We strongly deplore this smear campaign against our affiliate the HKJA. The work of the HKJA is commendable, especially the continued support and campaigning for media safety in the past four months in Hong Kong. We stand in solidarity and support the HKJA. The IFJ was never sort for comment regarding the campaign to have HKJA's membership revoked. The attempts by some to share disinformation are part of a campaign to discredit the work done by HKJA, supported by the IFJ to ensure the safety and security of the media and press freedom in Hong Kong."

The HKJA is a strong professional media union, working to support the Hong Kong media community and promote press freedom. Since the start of Hong Kong wide protests in June 2019, HKJA has been active in working to support the media. Since June they have raised HKD3 million (USD 383,000) for an anti-violence legal fund for journalists. They have supplied more than 100 safety kids to journalists, organized medical service for 33 journalists injured with tear gas while covering the protests, provided professional counselling services to 20 journalists and filed complaints for over 40 journalists attacked covering the protests.

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

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