The Hong Kong Journalists Association expresses concern and outrage as a Commercial Radio reporter was barred from entering Philippines to cover the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Ministerial Meeting. HKJA calls on the Filipino authorities and APEC organizers to respect the rights of the press in all APEC events and rescind the blacklist against Hong Kong journalists.
The above mentioned reporter is among the 9 journalists on a blacklist issued after Hong Kong reporterstossed questions to the Philippine President Benigno Aquino about the 2010 Manila hostage killings from the sidelines of Bali APEC Summit in 2013. Yet, this reporter only had registered for a media pass for the meeting and had not ever visited Bali to cover the event. HKJA points out the ban is actually a subsequence of the blacklist and the way the Filipino authorities handling media is totally unreasonable.
The Philippines Consulate in Hong Kong told HKJA in November 2014 that the Philippine Bureau of Immigration has, as of 25 November 2014, lifted the blacklist order dated 6 June 2014 issued against 9 Hong Kong journalists. They may enter the Philippines as tourists, subject to regular immigration inspection. However, the ban reveals that the blacklist is still in effect. HKJA is disappointed that the Filipino government contradicts its own words and penalizes the reporters 2 years after.
HKJA reiterates: the journalists were carrying out their duties in asking for comments from Philippine President Benigno Aquinoon the Manila hostage killings. Their behaviors are justified and within their rights of the press. The Filipino authorities’ decision to put these journalists on a blacklist and refuse their entry to Philippines is an outright contempt of press freedom. More ridiculous is the blacklist covers a journalist who has not ever visited Bali APEC summit.
HKJA strongly urges the Filipino authorities and APEC organizers to abandon the blacklist without delay and make their pledge to respect the rights of the press.
17 November 2015