Hong Kong: Journalist association publishes annual report “Freedom in Danger”

Covering a year of unrest marked by anti-extradition bill protests in June 2019, a pandemic and the National Security Law, the Hong Kong Journalists Association's (HKJA) annual report, “Freedom in Danger” navigates the stifling political climate for journalists in the last year. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports its affiliate HKJA and the report’s recommendations to protect freedom of expression and journalists in Hong Kong.

Despite Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems”, HKJA’s report Freedom in Danger highlights the shifting regime indicated by 71.8 per cent of 327 surveyed journalists stating they felt “uneasy when reporting views that are different from the mainland officials.” While the attacks on the media and freedom of expression in Hong Kong intensified with the now withdrawn extradition bill in June 2019, HKJA warns the recently passed National Security Law may have profound impacts for journalism in Hong Kong. 

The HKJA report recommends:

  1. The NPC should scrap plans to enact the national security law for Hong Kong.
  2. In light of the social divisiveness, the Government should not restart legislative work on the previously proposed national security law Article 23, until after there is social consensus.
  3. Police should stop obstructing the work of reporters and the use of violence and instead coordinate with reporters. Police should not pursue the introduction of a unified press card system and identification arrangements for reporters in public demonstrations.
  4. The Government should conduct an independent investigation into the police’s obstruction of work of reporters and the use of violence against them since the anti-extradition bill protest began in June 2019. 
  5. The Government should speed up the enactment of a freedom of information law and an archives law to enhance the public's access to information.
  6. The Government should stop putting pressure on Radio Television Hong Kong and respect its editorial autonomy.

The IFJ said: “The compounding factors of declining press freedom, intimidation of journalists and disturbing levels of self-censorship among journalists indicates the freedoms once enjoyed by journalists and Hong Kongers are in a dire state. The IFJ calls on the Hong Kong government to listen to the demands of journalists and their representative organisations and work collaboratively to protect the media and freedom of expression in Hong Kong.”

Read the report in English or Chinese.

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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