An urgent appeal to Police Commissioner to honour promise not to obstruct reporters

Together with three media associations, the Hong Kong Journalists Association held a meeting with the Commissioner for Police on Thursday last week. Mr Tang has said at the meeting: “(We will) make the best effort to ensure the reporting work of reporters. You (journalists) have the freedom and right to do reporting if that does not affect or obstruct the Police.” Today, reporters were again being obstructed by the Police deliberately during their reporting. Police officers conducted stop-and-search among reporters and ordered reporters to stop shooting without any justifications. Some reporters were hit by pepper ball rounds and suffered injuries. We urge Mr Tang to honour his promise and order frontline officers to stop obstruction and harm to reporters.

According to media reports, the Police have stopped a big group of reporters and conducted a check on their identifications in Central. Those who held a press card issued by the HKJA were allowed to leave. Those who did not were required to stay for further investigation. A number of reporters were asked to read out their names and identity card numbers before the camera. Riot police had ordered reporters to stop their live broadcasts. During their dispersion of the crowd, they fired several pepper balls. One reporter was hit.

The HKJA reiterates that reporters have the right to do reporting in public places. Reporting staff in media organisations do not necessarily have to be a member of the HKJA for them to be considered as reporters. Mr Tang said at the meeting last Thursday he agreed journalists and civilians have the right to take video in public places. He said he had conveyed that message to regional commanders. The HKJA holds the view that the Police should not obstruct anyone from conducting reporting activities. We hope Mr Tang meant what he said.

Hong Kong Journalists Association

27 May 2020

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