Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) announced today that all Next Media’s outlets are regarded as “unwelcome media” and henceforth banned from covering its press conferences and all other events. The HKJA regrets such action which is equivalent to an infringement on press freedom and the right to report. This also sets an extremely bad precedent; one likely to have a domino effect on the suppression of press freedom and impeding the people’s right to know. To avoid such unfavourable outcome we urge TVB to withdraw its decision immediately and play a responsible role in safeguarding freedom of expression.
We should point out that TVB as a listed company and one of the two free-to-air television licence holders in Hong Kong should acknowledge its enormous and far-reaching influence over Hong Kong. TVB should strive to safeguard one of our core values, alongside its counterparts in Hong Kong. We believe that TVB’s decision to deny access to some media outlets is not supported by the community.
Press freedom should be cherished by TVB and Next Media, and professional journalists should be objective and fair. HKJA believes that media organisations should seek improvements if criticisms against it sound plausible, without prejudice to its own editorial independence. The general public should be able to complain if it found any reporting to be untrue or biased.
HKJA reiterates that obstruction of news coverage and denying access to any media must be opposed. As a media organisation TVB should take the lead in upholding the core values of press freedom and freedom of expression. TVB has no reason to demolish its stronghold and destroy the impregnable bulwark itself. HKJA hopes that TVB reconsiders its position and communicates with Next Media.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
21st November 2013