IFJ Supports Demands for Accountable Institutions in Hong Kong

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Hong Kong JournalistsAssociation

(HKJA), and other local media organisations in calling on the Hong Kong Government

to uphold the spirit of the Hong Kong Code on Access to Information.

 

On November 21, the HKJA,

Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong Chinese Press Association and

Hong Kong Press Photographers Association signed a petition to demand the

release of information in real time by law enforcement officials. The campaign

collected 1,602 signatures from journalists, media management, journalism

professors and students.

 

The IFJ recognises the recent

adoption by Hong Kong police of policies requested

by the HKJA for the real time release of information on police matters of

public interest, as per the rights to freedom of speech enshrined

in Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. However, the IFJ notes that official

statements are often not comprehensive enough to allow the media to effectively

disseminate the information to the public.

 

The IFJ is also concerned

by reports the Hong Kong Hospital Authority lacks a clear understanding of the

code, after failing to promptly release information to the media after the amputation

of a newborn baby’s leg on October 13. The baby’s right leg was amputated after

the child developed tissue necrosis as a result of complications arising from a

routine injection.

 

Freedom of information laws

have been widely implemented in many different countries. These codes ensure

all government authorities maintain international best practice with regards to

accountability, transparency and fairness.

 

In 1995, Hong Kong’s Code on Access to Information was introduced.

However, according to the 2010 report of the Hong Kong Ombudsman, government

bureaus and departments have displayed “considerable misunderstanding of the

provisions and unfamiliarity with the procedural requirements” of the code.

 

In Voices

of Courage, the IFJ’s 2010 Press

Freedom in China Report, the IFJ called on the Hong Kong Government to enact

laws promoting freedom of information and public record, to better protect the public’s

right to information.

 

The IFJ urges Hong Kong Chief

Executive Donald Tsang and members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to

consider the enactment of freedom of information and public record laws, to

demonstrate Hong Kong’s commitment to accountability,

transparency and good governance.  

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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