IFJ calls for the immediate withdrawal of fugitives transfer bill

The Hong Kong government has tabled a bill to the Legislative Council, to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which allows the transfer of “fugitives” from Hong Kong to Mainland China on a case by case basis. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have raised serious concerns about the law, and possible threats to press freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. The IFJ calls on the immediate withdrawal of the bill.

A protester stands next to placards during a rally against the government's plans to overhaul its extradition rules, outside the legislative council in Hong Kong on May 4, 2019. Hong Kong's government plans to overhaul its extradition rules, allowing the transfer of fugitives with Taiwan, Macau and mainland China on a "case-basis" for the first time. Credit: Philip FONG / AFP

The Hong Kong Journalists Association, together with other 15 media organizations, issued a joint statement to oppose the bill and expressed their concern. The statement pointed out that, the claim from the government is far from reassuring.  Over the years, numerous journalists have been charged or harassed by mainland authorities under criminal offences actually covered by the amendment, including “drug possession”, “bribery”, “smuggling ordinary good”, “accepting bribes”.  HKJA and the media organization worried that the amendment will make it possible for mainland authorities to demand the surrender of journalists in Hong Kong, citing all kinds of unfounded charges.  

The IFJ has reiterated the concerns raised by HKJA about the amendment, that the journalists and whistleblowers will be put under threat when reporting on issues related to China, dealing a further blow to the already limited freedom of express that Hong Kong still enjoys.

The IFJ said: “We call on the Hong Kong government to withdraw the bill immediately, and the government of its obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which wasenacted in Hong Kong, to protect the freedom of expression with its full effort.”

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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