In August, journalists were most concerned with complaints received by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, a record high of over 2,500, over the “intrusive” photo printed in the front cover of EasyFinder and the way in which it obtained it. The HKJA also received more than 20 written complaints.
The complaints we received have already been passed to the independent Ethics Committee for follow-up actions and study. Therefore, we cannot comment on this incident at this moment to prevent interfering with the investigation. However, I would like to ask all our members, as well as those who are not, to pay close attention to our Code of Ethics.
In rule 5, it stated that “a journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straightforward means. The use of other means can be justified only by overriding considerations of public interest. The journalist is entitled to exercise a personal conscientious objection to the use of such means”.
Once the Committee completes the judgment, we will put it on our web site and publish it in The Journalist.
Regarding veteran Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong, his espionage trial ended in Beijing on 16 August. On the night of 15 August, we held a candlelight vigil, which was supported by other organisations. Although we had less than 24 hours in which to organise this, more than 100 citizens participated in the vigil. Some of them were not familiar with Ching Cheong, but they were less than satisfied with the legal system in the Mainland. Therefore, they voiced out and hoped that the Mainland legal authority can allow Ching Cheong to have a “Fair, Just, and Open” trial. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members, organisations, and guests who attended candlelight vigil and made it a complete success.
As for our quarterly-published newsletter, The Journalist, the Publication Sub-committee in charge decided after discussion to hire an independent executive editor for this newsletter and it was approved by the executive committee. Therefore, all of you received a recruitment notice earlier. The sub-committee convener received many enquiries from applicants. The applicants are now being processed and we will announce the result soon.
Additionally, the Membership, Training and Welfare Sub-committee is carrying out a survey to further understand our members’ interests in order to provide more suitable activities. Therefore, please spare one to two minutes to complete the questionnaire and let our sub-committee analyse the data and organise appropriate activities readily.
Finally, press freedom is the cornerstone for media to function and we are all responsible to defend this core value as a member of the media industry.
Remark: The latest news of the Ching Cheong case will be reported in the next Chairperson Report. If we have any statement, we will upload to our website as soon as possible.