A number of Hong Kong reporters from various media groups including Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and Commercial Radio Hong Kong (CRHK) were prohibited by the Beijing Police to enter Tiananmen Square in the capital to cover the morning’s flag-raising ceremony on the grounds that “reporting activities are not allowed without application”. The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) strongly condemns such blatant infringement of the media’s right to report events by the Beijing police.
The Beijing authorities usually step up suppression of press freedom and suppress dissidents’ personal liberties every year before June 4. This year, which marks the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy protests in 1989, the problem has got worse. On June 3, a number of reporters from different media groups including RTHK and CRHK who tried to reach Muxidi on bicycles were asked to leave, thus indicating that the authorities’ alert level has risen significantly.
We must point out that the reporters had been granted press credentials and have the right to cover news in Beijing. The claim that “reporting activities are not allowed without application” is totally unreasonable.
In addition, HKJA expresses grave concern over the arrest of well-known veteran Beijing journalist Gao Yu who was recently accused of “providing state secrets to institutions outside China” and detained by the police for more than a month. We reiterate that putting a journalist under detention for merely reporting on state policy is tantamount to brutally trampling on press freedom. Both freedom of speech and press freedom are fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. We, therefore, urge the authorities to strictly abide by the obligations of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
June 4th, 2014