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REGIONS:

HKJA VOICES CONCERNS OVER FREE EXPRESSION

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has expressed concerns over the future of public broadcasting in the Chinese territory and the government's plans to enact legislation that could potentially threaten the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which is currently reviewing Hong Kong's treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), HKJA says evidence of growing Chinese influence in Hong Kong's affairs can be seen in two recent developments affecting the media.

The role of Hong Kong's only public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), is currently being reviewed by a government-appointed committee made up primarily of representatives from the private media sector - a conflict of interest, said HKJA. The government has also signaled that RTHK's editiorial independence should be reined in because it does not currently "serve the national interest." HKJA said serving the national interest in this context could be equivalent to RTHK acting as a mouthpiece of the government.

HKJA also expressed concern that a proposed law that would give the government powers to spy on and intercept individuals' communications could threaten the confidentiality of journalists' sources. The group said journalistic material should only be intercepted if there is a grave threat to Hong Kong's security.

HKJA's report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/lsfso

Visit these links:
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?index=3658&Language=EN
- ARTICLE 19's Model Public Service Broadcasting Law: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/standards/modelpsblaw.pdf
- U.N. Human Rights Committee: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs86.htm
- ICPPR: http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

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