The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by the actions of the Hong Kong Police collecting personal information of journalists without providing reason.
On March 29, Lam Sair-ping, a journalist with Apple Daily, a Hong Kong based pro-democracy newspaper, was asked for identification and his press card while he was covering a protest against parallel trading at Sheung Shui New Territories. When Lam asked why he needed identification, the officer recorded his details and refused to answer. At the same protest, another two journalists were checked by police without reason. One of the journalists asked the officer for his identity card, but he refused.
Lam told the IFJ: “I questioned police about abusing their power, but they didn’t answer me. I personally feel that the police attitude towards the media is much more hostile after the Occupy Movement protests last year. They treat the media as the protester.”
A few days prior, a television crew received similar treatment by police at Sheung Shui. Police demanded to record the journalist’s personal details, including his residential address, yet noreason was given. The television crew have not reported the case, nor will they identify themselves due to concerns of further harassment.
According to Section 54 of the Police Force Ordinance of Hong Kong, police have the power to stop, detain and search only when the suspect acts in a suspicious manner or is suspected of committing a crime.
The IFJ Asia Pacific office said: “In recent days we have learned of at least five media workers who have experienced similar treatment by police without reason. We understand the role of the police, but that doesn’t mean that police should abuse their powers. Media workers have their rights and duties to report to the public. Each time that these media workers were stopped they were not allowed to continue their work after identifying themselves.”
We urge Andy Tsang, the Commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force to ensure all police officers are aware of the role of the media and their rights and to act lawfully according to the Police Force Ordinance and the Police General Orders.
We also urge all media workers to report cases of mistreatment to the Hong Kong Journalists Association or their own associations and ensure complaints are lodged to the Complaints Against Police Office in <st1:place w:st="on">Hong Kong</st1:place>.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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