Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) today met with Police Public Relations Branch to discuss arrangements taken by the police for news reporters when they cleared the demonstration site on Chater Road on Wednesday 2nd July.
HKJA made clear its points of view on news reporters being asked to leave the scene of the demonstration and to keep within a confined area hurriedly set up for the media.
The media delegation comprised of representatives from HKJA, Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, RTHK Programme Staff Union, Next Media Trade Union as well as several reporters involved in the incident.
The four organisations’ representatives told the police representatives that asking reporters to leave the scene of the demonstration while police cleared away the demonstrators was unacceptable. HKJA accepts that the police had to carry out their duties. But the media also has a duty to tell the public how the police carry out its functions. For the police to insist that reporters be confined to a small area is tantamount to putting curbs on press freedom.
The representatives also insisted that the police cannot, out of the blue, set up a confined space for reporters. If the police have no choice but to set up a confined area in order to carry out their duty, it must be done reasonably clearly. There should also be good and proper communications with the reporters concerned so that video-taping and other recordings can be carried out without any hassle.
Putting journalists behind barricades is bad enough. It is even worse for policemen to then form a human chain, blocking news cameramen from recording the crowd-clearance.
We hope they will look closely into this and make the necessary arrangements that will clearly demonstrate their respect for the media and for press freedom.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
7 July 2014