Journalists Protest in Hong Kong over Photographer’s Assault Charge

 

The

International Federation of Journalists supports its affiliate the Hong Kong

Journalists Association (HKJA), and other local media organisations, in its

protests in support of a photo-journalist

charged with common assault, which they claim arose from circumstance

related to the restrictions placed on the media in Hong Kong.

 

Sing

Kai-Chung, a former photographer with Apple Daily, was charged with common

assault for allegedly pushing a security guard to the ground outside the

Government Headquarters in Hong Kong on January 9.

 

Restrictive regulations have been prevented media from reporting

outside the Government Headquarters. Sing Kai-Chung,

who appeared in Eastern Court on September 27, was reportedly trying

to take photographs of the then Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-Yeung,

at the time of the alleged incident.

 

“I

refuse to admit the charge. I would like to put forward all the facts in front

of the court and seek justice. Let the court to decide whether media has the

right to report”, Sing told the IFJ.

 

“I

have worked in this industry for 20 years. I have experienced the shrinking of press

freedom in Hong Kong. In addition to that, we often receive hostility from the

security guards when we are trying to exercise our duty in front of the

Government Headquarter Building” he added.

 

Sing was released on bail and the case was adjourned

until October 11.

 

The

HKJA, Hong Kong Press Photographers Association and other media organisations also

voiced their concerns and denounced the restrictive arrangements for media

outside the Government Headquarter Building.

 

Approximately 80 journalists and members of organisations

wearing black t-shirts protested outside the court in support of Mr Sing and

against the restrictions on September 27.

 

The protestors

demanded an apology from the government for placing restrictive coverage orders

on the media, preventing proper coverage at Government Headquarters, which they

say resulted in the assault case and violates Article 27, Chapter 3, of the Hong

Kong constitution’s Basic Law, which is intended to uphold press freedom.

 

The HKJA is demanding that the Hong Kong Government

lift all the restrictions against media from outside the Government Headquarter

Building.    

 

The

IFJ has reported on the deterioration of press freedom in Hong Kongin

recent months.

 

“An unfettered press is one of

the cornerstones of any democracy, and the media must be able to perform their

duty to report in the public interest” the IFJ Asia-Pacific office said.

 

“Attempts to restrict the media’s

ability to report should not be tolerated.”

We

urge the Judiciary Department of Hong Kong to ensure a fair and impartial trial for Mr Sing is conducted, when the

case is before the courts in October.

 

We also call on the Chief Executive of Hong Kong to lift

restrictions on media from reporting outside the Government Headquarter

Building, in line with the Basic Law which protects press freedom.

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0918 

 

The

IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific