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
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.
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
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