Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said today before attending an Executive Council meeting it is a “waste of time” to answer the same question in English she has already answered in Chinese. She said the Government would consider providing simultaneous interpretation in the future. We expressed deep regret over her remarks.
Hong Kong is an international city, where English is an official language. English media and English media reports are an important medium that helps the international community understand Hong Kong. Mrs Lam’s dismissive attitude towards media questions raised in English is totally unacceptable.
We noted that the Chief Executive’s Office has clarified the Chief Executive was hoping to answer more questions from reporters. A spokesman stressed that the current practice of answering questions in accordance with the languages used by reporters will remain unchanged.
We reiterated that there is practical need for English media and reporters whose major language is English to raise questions in English. It is absolutely not a question of waste of time. Like other Chinese media, they shoulder the responsibility of monitoring the Government by reporting the truth. Mrs Lam made the assumption that she would only repeat the same answer already given in Chinese when being asked in English. Her response is again disappointing.
We sincerely hope that the Chief Executive and Government will attach importance to the right of different media in raising questions. We urge the Chief Executive to retract her relevant remarks and clarify the Government has no intention whatsoever of denigrating English media.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
3 July 2018