Hong Kong: IFJ writes to Chief Executive over on-going media violations

Since the outbreak of large scale demonstrations in Hong Kong in June, the IFJ has logged a string of violations against the media. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has recently sent a letter to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam to express concern and highlight the government’s responsibility in ensuring Hong Kong’s press freedom.

Members of the media take photos after police fired tear gas to disperse protesters following a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong on July 21, 2019. Credit: VIVEK PRAKASH / AFP

In the open letter, the IFJ listed all recent violations against media including the obstruction of work, harassment of journalists and the use of excessive force by the Hong Kong police. The IFJ also noted the failure of the police to protect its people during a recent attack by assailants dressed in white chasing train commuters at Yuen Long station as they hunted for democracy protesters on Sunday, July 21. Reporters were also attacked amidst the chaos where at least one had to be sent to a hospital for treatment.

The IFJ remains extremely concerned about the recent spike in attacks against the media in Hong Kong and condemns the violence initiated by the authorities, particularly by the police, on journalists. They have failed to secure safety for journalists as well as for the citizens against vicious assaults, resulting in a serious infringement of press freedom. The IFJ reminded the Hong Kong government that as a region that has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), they have an obligation to protect freedom of expression and press freedom.

“Journalists play an integral role in any democratic society. Attacks against them must be taken very seriously and their attackers reprimanded, to ensure that press freedom and free speech cannot be silenced by a culture of impunity,” said Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary of the IFJ. He also urged the Hong Kong government to provide a response to the recent incidents outlined and to put a stop to the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.

Read the letter here

UPDATE: On August 19, 2019 the IFJ received a reply to the letter on behalf of the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. 

See the response here

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

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

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram