HKJA is deeply concerned about media retraction of propaganda chief remarks

A Hong Kong senior media delegation held a meeting with Huang Kunming, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department during their visit to Beijing on Tuesday. At a post-meeting media briefing broadcast on live, delegation leader Siu Sai-wo, flanked by some delegates, quoted Huang as saying he hoped that “Hong Kong media should not become a political base for interfering with the mainland.” Some media outlets had reported his remarks, both in the text and headlines of their reports. Delegates who were also present at the briefing did not refute Siu’s remarks.

Some media outlets, which were represented in the delegation, have later changed their original reports; they deleted Siu’s reference relating to “a political case for interfering with the mainland. Some media have deleted the television footages of the media briefing from their website. Quoting sources, some media reported that media organisations have received reminders from the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R., saying that Huang’s remarks were aimed for internal discussion, not reporting.

We hold the view that the incident is highly unusual. We have also received queries made by fellow journalists. They are concerned about whether it is a case of self-censorship or external pressure on Hong Kong media.

We urge Mr Siu Sai-wo to clarify whether what he said at the media briefing is true and, if not, what the original words are. And if there are discrepancies in his quotes, whether he will retract his remarks.

We urge media delegate to clarify what Siu said is true and, if not, what the original words are.

We urge the Propaganda Department to clarify whether Siu’s quotes are correct and, if not, what the original words are?

We urge those media outlets who have deleted their reports to clarify whether they have done so because of pressure from Beijing – as some media have said.

We would like to reiterate we have no intention of interfering with the editorial independence of media organisations. But what Mr Siu has said has already been broadcast on live and that the relevant media reports have been published. The public have reasons to believe those reports are true, based on facts. But some media outlets have later retracted their reports. The public will feel bewildered. They fear media were practising self-censorship. We sincerely hope the senior media delegation will clear the air to dispel public doubts and anxieties.

Hong Kong Journalists Association
17 October 2018

HKJA strongly condemns the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
HKJA Expresses Shock at Government Refusal of Work Visa for FCC Vice President