IFJ Urges Hong Kong Police to End Discrimination and Harassment of Media

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) urges the Commissioner of Hong Kong, Andy Tsang Wai-Hung, to cease

the government’s discrimination against the media and the maintenance of public

order as an excuse to restrict press freedom.
According to reports from various Hong

Kong media, Hong Kong Police have allocated a location relatively near to the

Chinese Liaision Office, the representative body of the Central Government of the

People’s Republic of China,

as a media zone for reporting on the commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
However, journalists have complained of

police discrimination in media access to the area. Police have only allowed journalists

from four selected television media outlets to enter the zone.
Patrick Kwok Pak-chung, Senior Superintendent

of the Police Public Relations Branch explained that only four TV stations

could enter the zone due to a lack of space. He further said that this

arrangement had been communicated to the Hong Kong Journalists Association

(HKJA) and that all print media organisations had been informed about the

arrangements. However, Mak Ying-Ting, Chairwoman of the HKJA, criticised the

Police for providing the information at the last minute, rather than engaging

in genuine consultations on the issue.
Lam Chun-tung, Chairman of the Hong

Kong Press Photographers’ Association, has also raised complaints of increasing

discrimination and harassment by Hong Kong’s Police. He also said

that Police had merely informed his organisation of the new arrangements, without

giving any details.
Over the last twelve months,

journalists were harassed, detained and arrested on a number of different

On March 25,

Poon Ching-Ki, photographer, was arrested by police while attempting to take a

photo of a public demonstration. Prior to this, two journalists including a citizen journalist were also detained and arrested while they were

taking photos of a rally on July 1, 2011.
On August 18, 2011, Sit

Ka-Kit, a camera operator with Now Television, was prevented by an unknown

person from filming the visit of Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to Laguna

City, Kowloon, Hong Kong. A police officer in uniform failed to act on Sit’s

complaint that he had been prevented from performing his professional duty, and

that the person responsible had refused to identify themselves.
The Security Panel of Hong Kong’s

Legislative Council held a special session to investigate police conduct operations

during the visit. During the meetings, IFJ proposed a number of recommendations

to improve relations between the media and police, but none were accepted by

the police. However, the Police did promise to continue to maintain clear communication

channels with the media.
“Based on the latest incidents, it is

clear that Hong Kong’s police have failed to

live up to their responsibility to maintain respectful and transparent relationship with the media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Office said.
“Rather they have increased

discrimination against media outlets and impeded the media’s ability to do its

job of reporting the news.
The creation of ‘media zones’ are

unnecessary in truly democratic societies where local authorities respect the press

The Hong Kong Police’s decision to

allocate ‘media zones’ indicates an intention to restrict media movement and a

clear misunderstanding of the principles of press freedom.”
The IFJ urges the Chief Executive of

Hong Kong to address growing concerns about restrictions on media freedoms in Hong Kong.
We request that the Chief Executive

instruct all senior government officials and police officers to fully recognise

and implement the rights to press freedom enshrined in Hong

Kong’s Basic Law.



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 


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