Words from Chairperson: Hope you will fight side by side with us

Dear members,

To safeguard the public’s right to know, your union launched a signature campaign last week strongly calling on the Government to withdraw its plan to curb public access to personal data in Company Records. A record 1,768 members, colleagues, teachers, journalism students and even journalists in Taiwan and Macao endorsed this.

It was not easy getting such a satisfying result. I, on behalf of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, would like to extend our grateful thanks to everyone in the media industry, related organizations and journalism faculties who helped spread our message and collected the signatures.

Among newspapers, The Apple Daily distinguished itself by getting 161 colleagues to sign. It was followed by Next Magazine, which secured 153, Ming Pao (128 signatures) and Hong Kong Economic Times (104 signatories).

RTHK got the most signatures among electronic media outlets. The coordinators worked most diligently to get 150 colleagues to sign. With 91 signatures Cable TV was the runner-up.

The biggest surprise was the active participation of correspondents from the foreign media: 65 from Bloomberg and 33 from Reuter.

Whether or not you joined in this noble endeavour, you have my grateful thanks for your support. Every name counts and each of you contributed to the success of the campaign. As everyone understands, some organisations have less manpower and thus less able to match the larger ones.

Thank you to all those individual donors who sponsored the advertisement fees of 5 newspapers. We raised $11,230. Unfortunately, the total cost of the advertisements was much larger than this. Even though our association used the surplus of the 2009 signature campaign revenue for this, we still had a deficit of $HK42,154. If you wish to make a donation towards this campaign, please deposit your donation into our HSBC account: 002-4-228298 and fax the Advisory, which says for the “Co-signed Declaration Donation”, to us at 25727329.

This is certainly a tough war. The Government shows no sign of retreat in spite of the record breaking signature campaign. Instead, it is adopting a divide-and-rule strategy by offering exemption for media. I hope that you won’t be short-sighted and be misled, thus accepting privileged access to the Company Record for the media but sacrificing the free flow of information for the people at large. With the skin gone, what can the hair adhere to?

The subsidiary regulation is scheduled to be tabled to the Legislative Council in May. That will be the critical moment in this war; I hope you will fight for the cause side by side with us.

Mak Yin-ting

Chairperson, HKJA

20th February, 2013

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