During a Rugby Sevens event at the Hong Kong Stadium on April 8, a female reporter was sexually harassed by two members of the public during a live broadcast. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have condemned the incident, and called on the reporter’s employer, i-Cable, to investigate the incident and provide support to the reporter.
The female i-Cable TV reporter was conducting a live broadcast, when two men stood on either side of her and kissed her. The journalist looked embarrassed and raised her arms to separate herself from the men. When asked by the media about the incident, she said the behaviour was unacceptable but ‘not much she could do’. The incident sparked widespread debate about sexual harassment, however Ronald Chiu Ying-chun, News executive director reportedly did not take issue with the incident; laughing it off, and said the firm would not pursue it.
On April 11, an i-Cable TV spokesperson said that the human resources department has spoken with the reporter, who told them that she did not want to pursue the matter.
The Equal Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong said that the men’s behaviour constituted sexual harassment, and the chairperson, Chan Cheung-Ming, said that police could have a case if the journalist felt the behaviour was against her will. Chan said: “In other countries, if the person was kissed against his or her will, there could be consequences too.”
There was no response from the Hong Kong Police Department. Chris Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said that the TV station has to ensure no employees will be subject to any form of discrimination or sexual harassment, according to relevant laws. Yeung said that this behaviour should not be encouraged and regretted the rudeness of the two men towards the journalist.
The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “Journalists and media workers should never be subject sexual harassment as they undertake their work. Employers have a responsibility to ensure staff have the adequate resources to protect themselves from such incidents, and support should they wish to proceed with legal proceedings.”
We urge i-Cable Hong Kong Television to reconsider the incident, and support the journalist to file a complaint to police.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
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