I am sorry for the belated chairperson report.
In February, the HKJA organized a Pun Choy trip after the Lunar New Year. It was a trip that suitable for every family member. Nearly 40 participants joined, during the trip we gave out prizes in lucky draw, including Disneyland Hotel voucher, coupons for hairstyling and SPA that worth $3,000, and etc. It was a wonderful trip for every participant. Later in March, in response to members’ demand, we organized the Tai Po Kau Half Day trip. During the trip, our guide Mr. Choi Kin Hung introduced the ecological system there in great details, which increased our knowledge of the natural environment.
From 19 to 24 February, I represented the HKJA to join the AGM of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) in Brussels. The theme this year is “Acting Together to Defend Free Expression”. IFEX built a mutual supportive international network to safeguard press freedom and freedom of expression, meanwhile they sponsor activities related to these values. Today, the journalists association in Mongolia assists the journalists association in Russia for legislation of the Freedom of the Press Act. The journalists association in Thailand also helps the Cambodian journalists association to protect journalists’ safety; the IFJ sent staff to Afghanistan for a couple of times to explain the importance of press freedom and freedom of expression……Every year the European Union reserves funding for groups to hold activities that related to press freedom and freedom of expression. Therefore, on the platform of press freedom and freedom of expression, we could do plenty of things. For example, we can support other countries or Mainland journalists, to share the value of press freedom and freedom of expression with them.
In March, Mr. Lo King Wah, the convener of Press Freedom Subcommittee, attended the hearing of United Nation Human Rights Committee in New York and submitted the HKJA’s opinions regarding the implementation of ICCPR in Hong Kong. During his stay in New York, Mr. Lo actively lobbied individual committee member, and explained the main points of our submission, including the Review of Public Service Broadcasting and Ching Cheong case (The full text of submission can be found in the HKJA web site old.hkja.org.hk). Later in point 13 and 21 of “the Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee”, which written by the UNHR committee to the SAR government, responded part of our comments, we will continue to follow up the related report.
“13. The Committee is concerned about reports of intimidation and harassment against journalists and media personnel, frequently in connection with debates on political issues (article 19).
The HKSAR should take vigorous measures to prevent and prosecute harassment of media personnel, and ensure that the media can operate independently and free from government intervention.”
“21. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the HKSAR should submit within one year information on the follow-up given to the Committee’s recommendations in paragraphs 9, 13, 15, 18. The Committee requests the HKSAR to include in its next periodic report information on its remaining recommendations and on the implementation of the Covenant as a whole.”
In addition, the HKJA sent submissions to the Committee on Review of Public Service Broadcasting and the Legislative Council Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting. Also we responded to the Law Reform Commission’s report on Covert Surveillance. The HKJA concerned whether the Review Committee on PSB will have a negative impact on the RTHK’s editorial independence. Moreover, the report from the Law Reform Commission suggested a rather narrow ground for defense which adversely affects the freedom of press and journalists.
Besides, we concerned the safety of journalists which was threatened in Philippines, as a result, we sent a petition letter to the Philippines government and urge them to protect journalists’ safety.
There are numerous tasks for the HKJA, sometimes there were so many that we could hardly handle all of them, but still, we never think of backing down. We understand that there is no free lunch in the world, and a great effort is needed to develop true press freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. In May, the HKJA will start its election process for the new executive committee. Please consider joining our executive committee team to stand in the front line to protect press freedom and strive for a better media environment. If you would like to know more about the work in HKJA, please contact me.
The HKJA Annual Gala Dinner will be held on 2 June (Friday). We are delighted that the Honourable Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, will be our Guest of Honour this year. Each member can purchase a journalist ticket with the special price of $500. Enquiries please contact HKJA staff at 2591 0692.
The latest “The Journalist” will be published soon, we will send out before end of the month. Another thing is the 4th Media Awards on Tongzhi Coverage postponed their awards presentation ceremony to July. We will release the details later.
Last but not least, the HKJA is organizing a joint signature campaign to release Ching Cheong. Details please find in the HKJA website. Please support by send your name to the HKJA by email or fax at 2572 7329.