Update from the International Federation of Journalists: Chinese authorities censor reporting from pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong (1 October 2014)
In a 27 September 2014 statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) condemned the police use of force against reporters who were covering pro-democracy rallies.
Numerous reporters on the ground complained that the police disrupted their news collecting activities by using force against them, during police operations to forcibly remove protesters from outside government headquarters. The reporters were pulled here and there or held by their necks by the officers. HKJA expresses regrets and strongly condemns such behavior. HKJA requests that the police follow up on and respond to these incidents. They are also requested to ensure that such actions would not be repeated again.
The large-scale protest and dispute between the police and public took place at the government headquarters in Admiralty on the night of 26 September. Many reporters were at the scene, in the forefront of the confrontation in order to report on it for the general public. HKJA received several complaints from the reporters that they were mistreated with force repeatedly by the police during news collecting. A reporter from ATV was held by his neck by a police officer. Another reporter from In-media was dragged by an officer even after showing his press card.
The police have been using force against reporters in all recent large protests during their operations. Such acts disrupt the media's work in covering news. HKJA has raised this issue on several occasions with the police but to no avail.
HKJA strongly urged the police to learn from similar incidents and to make prompt and proper improvements. They are also requested to ensure that when carrying out their duties, they will protect the safety of reporters and will respect their right to report in order to maintain press freedom.
In a follow up statement on 29 September, HKJA condemned the police's use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators.
The HKJA strongly condemned police use of unnecessary physical force against demonstrators in the previous 24 hours.
Article 27 of the Basic Law promises Hong Kong residents the freedom of assembly, of procession and of demonstration.
The police have, however, used 87 tear gas grenades against citizens who have only been engaging in peaceful demonstrations as they have every right to do. Many citizens and at least three members of the press were wounded.
The excessive force employed is unnecessary and unacceptable. It is a contradiction to the freedoms and rights promised by the Basic Law. This deviates significantly from the professional performance that the city's policemen are renowned for in the handling of public demonstrations. Whoever made the decision for the use of excessive force has done a major damage to the public's trust on the police.
The Association would also like to salute all the journalists covering the demonstrations for their courageous and professional performance in keeping the public informed of developments. Several journalists continue to work at the scene despite doctors' advice to stay home for the injuries suffered.
Members of the press are encouraged to download HKJA's "Memo on Covering Demonstrations and Rallies in Hong Kong".
hong_kong_hkja_memo.pdf (234 KB)