Journalists attacked during riots in Hong Kong

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in condemning attacks on several journalists covering riots in Hong Kong on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The IFJ calls for an investigation into the incident and those responsible be brought to justice.

According to reports, several journalists, including cameramen and photographers were attacked and injured as they reported on a riot in Mong Kok. The media workers from Cable Television, Television Broadcasting (TVB), Hong Kong Radio Television (ETHK), E Weekly, Ming Pao and Next Media Group, were covering a riot from a local political group. Scuffles broke out between protesters, while police used tear gas to try and disperse the crowds.

During the clash between police and protesters, Chung Shui-Kwok, a TVB cameraman, complained some unidentified people used their hands cover his camera. When he and colleagues repeatedly cried out they were journalists, the protesters simply ignored them. One of the journalists from RTHK was attacked by a protester with a brick, damaging their equipment. The cameraman’s jaw was also injured in the attack. A Ming Pao journalist was severely attacked, beaten and kicked by a police officer, injuring his head in the attack.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) condemned the incident. HKJA said “there is no place in Hong Kong for the resolution of political or other differences within our community through violence.”

After the riot, police said two gunshots were fired because officers were worried for their personal safety. They did not rule out the riot is “organized” violence, however police did not answer questions when media asked why several media workers were attacked by police covering the riots.

Leung Chun-Ying, Chief Executive of Hong Kong condemned the violence. When asked about the attack on media workers, Leung simply suggested media to lodge a complaint to Complaints Against Police Organization. 

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The IFJ reiterates that journalists should not be attacked for simply doing their jobs. Journalists and media workers should be able to freely cover events without fear of attacks.”

“We call on the Hong Kong government to take immediate steps to educate the police and public of the rights of journalists and the media community. This incident reminds us of the Occupy Movement in 2014, which saw a spike in attacks on journalists for simply doing their jobs. This trend cannot continue.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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