HKJA’s response to TVB’s statement

In response to a statement from Television Broadcasts (TVB) on banning Next Media from reporting on its activities, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has the following points to make:

According to TVB Next Media has been unscrupulously attacking TVB.
HKJA’s response: TVB needs to provide some concrete examples for a better understanding of the situation. Our Ethics Committee is ready to look at any complaint of substance.

According to TVB its actions are “really a last resort”.
HKJA’s response: According to the law, anyone who thinks a certain media is indulging in unscrupulous attacks can file a complaint.
HKJA’s constitution also states that if members of the public find the reporting of certain media groups to be biased or inaccurate, they can file a complaint to the Ethics Committee, and the HKJA will, according to the decision of the committee, take necessary disciplinary action. TVB has yet to file any complaints to the HKJA, and we have not heard that any legal proceedings have been launched by TVB, so we do not find the banning of reporting to be “a last resort”.

According to TVB its decision “has absolutely nothing to do with press freedom”.
HKJA: This statement is extremely ridiculous.

HKJA hopes TVB can respond to questions set out below to explain how banning reporting will not affect press freedom.

1. As a listed company, TVB often convenes press conferences to explain to investors and shareholders its business development and results. Will TVB ban journalists working for the Next Media Group from covering such events?
2. As one of only two users of the free airwaves, TVB has a legal responsibility to provide fair and impartial information to the public. Will TVB screen out any reports or commentaries from the Next Media Group in its programmes providing newspaper summaries every morning?
3. As a media organization TVB should be defending press freedom.

If any organization is dissatisfied with the way TVB handled this issue and decides to ban TVB’s news team from reporting on its activities, will TVB accept that?
From the questions listed above, the public should understand that press freedom is not an abstract idea or principle, but something that materially involves the public interest. Once this freedom is restricted the public loss will be immense, It is not just losing out on some celebrity entertainment news.

Hong Kong Journalists Association
22nd November 2013

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