Hong Kong: Police target journalists in the aftermath of the new security law

Following China passing the controversial National Security Law for Hong Kong, a number of reporters were struck by police with tear gas and water cannons as the city erupted in protest. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) condemns the systematic suppression of freedom of expression in Hong Kong and the arbitrary use of force against journalists.

Riot police deploy tear gas to clear protesters from a road during a rally against the new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. Credit: DALE DE LA REY / AFP

The day after Beijing’s National People’s Congress unanimously passed the law criminalising “separatism, subversion of state power, terrorism and interference”, bypassing the British legislation that allowed Hong Kong to operate semi-autonomously, police targeted reporters in Hennessy Road in Wan Chai on June 1 with tear gas and water cannons. In Causeway Bay, a large number of journalists were also repeatedly pepper sprayed by police.

Ever since Hong Kong protests intensified in June 2019, police violence against journalists has become commonplace. A survey conducting by HKJA earlier this year found 63 per cent of surveyed journalists found themselves on the receiving end of police violence at public order events. Prior to Beijing passing the National Security Law, in a separate survey, 91 per cent of journalists expressed concern for their safety if the law was passed.

HKJA strongly condemned the police attacks against journalists with water cannons and tear gas, emphasising the importance of allowing front-line journalists to monitor the situation effectively.

The IFJ said: “With the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong through Beijing’s National Security Law, it is critical for the media to freely inform the public of the current state of Hong Kong. The IFJ calls on the police to take meaningful action that will end the intimidation and attacks on journalists covering public order events.”  

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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