IFJ urges Hong Kong Government to defend press freedom

Media Release: Hong Kong                                         


9, 2013



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

Journalists Association (HKJA) in condemning the refusal of the Hong Kong

Government to categorically support press freedom.



Dark Clouds on the Horizon, the HKJA’sannual report on the state of Hong Kong’s media, the

HKJA found there had been a deterioration in press freedom in Hong Kong during

2012. The report found that Hong Kong’s Chief

Executive, Leung Chun Ying, increasingly avoids answering media questions at

press conferences, preferring instead to issue unilateral statements posted on

the internet.



a disturbing development, Leung’s lawyer issued a warning to commentator Joseph Lian after Lian wrote anarticle critical of Leung. The HKJA believes Leung’sunwillingness to

answer journalists’ legitimate questions and face proper media scrutiny coupled

with his sensitivity to press criticism is undermining press freedom in Hong Kong and displays an alarming degree of intolerance of

legitimate criticism.



in the HKJA report, there has been a sharp rise in attacks on journalists in

the 12 months to July 2013, with 11 incidents in Hong Kong and seven in Mainland

China. HKJA chairperson Sham Yee Lan says HKJA members are concerned the violence

against journalists will escalate. The HKJA has requested a meeting with the

representative of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong to discuss media

safety but, as yet, there has been no response.



IFJ Asia-Pacific office, says: “Violence against the media is used to silence

democratic voices in a society. The Hong Kong Government and Chinese Liaison

Office must act swiftly and responsibly to ensure press freedom and the safety

for journalists as they go about their duties. The authorities must condemn

these acts of violence and demonstrate they support press freedom, which is one

of the fundamental rights of people enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law and

Chinese Constitution.”



IFJ added that the unwillingness of the government to engage with and respond

to the media is a worrying trend. “It would be a great blow to press freedom if

the Hong Kong Government continues to adopt the practices of the Mainland

government by using the internet to issue unilateral statements rather than

respond to legitimate media questions directly.”



the IFJ joins HKJA in urging Leung Chun Ying to uphold his promise and enact

the freedom of information laws as a key step towards open, transparent and

responsible government.  



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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131


Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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