Around 13000 people took part in a protest organized by the Press Coalition Against Violence today, to express their shock and outrage at the brutal attack on former Ming Pao Chief Editor Kevin Lau Chun-to. They strongly urged the Police to swiftly catch the culprits and bring them to justice.
At a rally before the march, protesters heard Mr Lau’s first public words since the attack. In a voice recording, Mr Lau said: “Violence is meant to intimidate. If we are frightened into submission, we will lose our freedom. We journalists must stand fearless. We must insist that justice be served. We must strive to tell the truth without fear or favor. Freedom is not given. Freedom is not free. We all have to earn and guard it.”
In the recording, Mr Lau’s wife Vivien Chan Pik-kwan said she found it hard to understand why her husband was attacked. But she stressed Hong Kong should uphold its rule of law and that all people should be able to speak their minds and enjoy freedom of speech. The news media must be allowed to carry on with their fair and just news coverage. “If we all guard our stations with professionalism, we won’t have to worry about viruses, thugs or evil itself. We shall not live in fear,” she said.
The protest was initiated by the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong News Executives’ Association, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists and the Hong Kong Press Photographers’ Association. This shows the united voice of the industry across groups from different backgrounds to strongly condemn this cold-blooded and violent attack, to call on the police to spare no efforts in catching and bringing the culprits to justice and to ensure there is appropriate punishment for such acts that challenge the rule of law, press freedom and other core values.
The Chairman of the News Executives’ Association, Ronald Chiu Ying-chun read out a statement on behalf of the coalition, saying that the attack on Kevin Lau, “will not scare off the news media. On the contrary, we are more united in our resistance to violence. We are fearless and unbowed, we will stand firm in our positions, be true to our duty and report the facts; we will safeguard press freedom.”
The Chairperson of the HKJA, Sham Yee-lan said violence is a violation of press freedom, it is unacceptable. “The attackers used the blade of a knife to slash press freedom. We use our pens to protect press freedom, we will continue to uncover the truth,” she said.
When protesters reached the Police Headquarters, media industry representatives handed over the coalition’s statement to the Police, along with more than 32,000 signatures gathered from Hong Kong citizens.
The HKJA handed out blue ribbons for protesters to stick onto banners spelling out the messages: against violence; spare no efforts; seek facts; don’t retreat; freedom from fear. There was also a banner with “support you” for Kevin Lau.
The HKJA also held a “Stand firm, against violence” stand in silence action before the march. The aim of the event was to highlight the fact that “violence only serves to expose the ugliness of the evil forces; to show the value of uncovering truth. Because the truth hurts evil people who have power, and prevents the public from being hurt by lies.” More than 700 frontline journalists took part in the action.
Media Contact: Mak Yin-ting (9025 8965)
The Hong Kong Journalists Association
March 2, 2014
Kevin Lau Chun To’s Voice Recording – 新聞界反暴力聯席在遊行前播出劉進圖1分20秒錄音聲帶，在病床上向參與反暴力遊行的新聞工作者作出鼓勵。聲音下載：
Vivien Lau’s Voice Recording – 劉進圖太太陳碧君在錄音聲帶表示，每名市民都應該有言論自由和知情權，我們不應生活在恐懼中。聲音下載：