We were very concerned about the unrest in Lhasa, Tibet in March. The incident itself made headlines as international news item. The fact that reporters were placed under escort and ordered out of Lhasa made another. We found the act unjustifiable and regretful.
The mainland authorities allowed Hong Kong and foreign media organizations to do coverage on the incident for only a couple of days before sending them away. We consider this a breach of the “Measures for the Reporting Activities in the Mainland Conducted by the Journalists of Hong Kong and Macau during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period” implemented since January last year.
According to the new measures, reporters are free to cover any news once consent is sought from the interviewees. We believe the presence of reporters from Hong Kong and around the world were legal and justifiable.
As only the official media teams were doing the reporting after other reporters left Lhasa, there were no other news organizations to prove the truthfulness of official news coverage, or to monitor the situation. Although the authorities invited some media organizations to go back to Lhasa later, the itinerary was set by officials who accompanied reporters all the way. It only left us an impression of a show.
There was new development in the long-delayed payment of Sing Pao. The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) issued a Statutory Demand to the management on 18th March, requesting the company to settle the outstanding MPF contributions on or before 8th April. Otherwise, the MPFA will file a winding-up petition to the High Court to wind up the company.
We believe that it is the right of all employee of Sing Pao to employer’s contribution, no matter they are currently employed or have left the company, and shall be protected. On the other hand, we definitely would not be happy to see the closure of such establishment, which leaves the current staff joblessness and those who left more difficult to claim back their money which Sing Pao owes them.
In Sing Pao’s case, about $ 4.2 million of MPF contributions were still in default. We urge the management to settle the outstanding amount within the grace period to protect its operation and the livelihood of the staff.
The 12th Annual Human Rights Press Awards, co-organized by the Amnesty International Hong Kong, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong (FCC) and HKJA, announced the winners on 29th March and the prize presentation ceremony was held at FCC.
This year we received 193 entries. The judging panels awarded 12 Prizes and 27 Merit Certificates. Please go to our website old.hkja.org.hk for details. Congratulations to the winners and we need your continuous support. We hope that this platform would give affirmation to your success and thus enhance more concern and improvement in human rights.
Fan Ho Tsai2008