Hong Kong journalists attacked during pre-election reporting

The International Federation of Journalists joins its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in strongly criticising an attack on two journalists on August 31. The IFJ calls on the Hong Kong authorities to guarantee the rights and safety of the local media in the lead-up to the Legislative Council elections.

On Wednesday, a journalist and photographer from Ming Pao Daily arrived at a local restaurant, where, according to the journalists, a candidate, for the upcoming elections, and her support group were hosting a banquet event, which is illegal according to the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance. As the journalists arrived at the restaurant, they were immediately blocked from entering by members of a police support group. The journalists identified themselves, but were still barred entry. When the photographer started using his phone to film the scene it was immediately confiscated. The photographer was also attacked, injuring his head and breaking his glasses. The journalist was pushed to the ground and injured her hand.

The Ming Pao Daily and the Ming Pao Staff Association condemned the brutal act. 

Police investigated the case and classified it as theft and common assault.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections will be held on September 4, during which more than 3.7 million voters will elect 70 members of the Council.

This is not the first time that journalists have been attached by the police support group. During the Umbrella Revolution in 2014, several journalists from Radio Television Hong Kong were attacked when they tried to report on an anti-revolution protest organized by the group.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “We welcome the swift investigation into the incident by the police, however we urge the police to take action against those responsible. In the lead up to the elections, the situation in Hong Kong has soured and the media is coming under increasing pressure. We call on the local authorities to guarantee the rights of the media, particularly during times of political change.” 

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

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

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