Hong Kong journalist barred entry to the Philippines for APEC Summit

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in strongly criticizing the decision to bar a Hong Kong journalist from entering the Philippines to cover the APEC Summit. The IFJ demands an immediate explanation from the Philippines authorities.

On November 15, a Hong Kong-based journalist from Commercial Radio (CR) was barred entry to the Philippines. The journalist was travelling to the Philippines to cover the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, for which he had successfully registered prior to commencing his journey. According to Commercial Radio, the journalist was barred entry because of an incident at the 2013 APEC Summit, during which journalists questioned Philippines President Benigno Aquino III about a hostage situation in 2010. All journalists were forced to exit the venue after the incident, with a number of reporters being followed. According to reports, nine Hong Kong journalists were backlisted by the Philippines government after the incident, including this particular CR journalist, even though he had not been present at the 2013 Summit.

Commercial Radio released a statement expressing deep regret about this incident and saying that they found it difficult to understand the decision made by Filipino authorities.

According to HKJA in a letter from the Philippines Consulate in Hong Kong, dated November 25, 2014, the nine Hong Kong journalists that were previously blacklisted had their names removed on June 6, 2014. The letter detailed that although the nine journalists were able to enter the Philippines as tourists they were subject to regular immigration inspection.

In a statement, the HKJA has reiterated their disappointment and said that “The Filipino authorities’ decision to put these journalists on a blacklist and refuse their entry to the Philippines is an outright contempt of press freedom. Moreover, it is ridiculous that the blacklist covers a journalist who was not even present at the Bali APEC summit.”

HKJA also criticized the decision of the Filipino government and said that it “contradicts its own words and penalizes the reporters 2 years after”.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said “The Government of the Philippines has clearly reneged its promise which jeopardises press freedom. The APEC summit is an important meeting among various countries all media should have their right to report from the meeting.”

The IFJ demands that the Government of the Philippines make a public explanation about the incident and the status of the nine journalists on the black list.     

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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