Hong Kong: IFJ urges the Hong Government to apologise for assaults on journalists

The Hong Kong government reached out to local journalist associations to discuss the police brutality against journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) call on the Hong Kong government to recognise the impact police tactics have had on journalists.

Riot police confronting Hong Kong journalist Credit: Mohd Rasfan / AFP

According to the statement from the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), the government invited 3 local journalists unions including HKJA, Hong Kong Photojournalists Association and Hong Kong News Executives' Association, to meet on November 12.  The purpose of the meeting was to exchange thoughts and improve the relationship between the police and journalists. In the meeting, the government representative affirmed the rights of journalists and denounced the violence against journalists.

Last week, on November 3, after six journalists conducted a silent protest at a police press conference, there were reports of complaint letters sent by the Hong Kong Police to the respective news outlets of the six journalists. As the protest was silent, it did not generate any actual obstruction to the press conference.

HKJA called “on the police to immediately stop violence against journalists, and urged the government to pay attention to the impact on journalists after the implementation of the Anti-Mask Act, and the differences between front line officers and the authorities in the enforcement of the relevant legislation.”

The IFJ said: “While the meeting appears productive as a first step in mending the relationship between journalists and the police, the Hong Kong government must not ignore the fact that the violence has already occurred.

We urge the Hong Kong government to make an official public announcement to recognise the harms that have befallen Hong Kong journalists. The government needs to give a clear message to the public, emphasising the importance of journalism. The recognition of their work and right to safety must not be limited to a closed-door meeting, it has to be public.

The IFJ strongly suggests the government make an official apology to the journalists who were assaulted and obstructed by police, followed by an independent investigation into police misconduct against journalists. The current mechanisms employed by the Hong Kong police are inadequate and attempt to pressure journalists into silence. Writing to the employers of the journalists who protested constitutes harassment and is unacceptable. Hong Kong journalists continually act in good faith despite police interference. In this dire time, the IFJ requests the Hong Kong government publicly affirms its commitment to press freedom.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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