Six news unions today met with the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Support, LAM Man-wing, to express their concern over instances of violence of varying degrees against frontline journalists covering Occupy Movement. The unions reiterated their request for police to ensure that commanders and officers at the scene will assist journalists in news coverage and, also, proactively follow up such instances of violence against the journalists.
The representatives were from the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Independent Commentators Association, Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, Ming Pao Staff Association and Next Media Trade Union.
At the meeting, the police representative said that out of 24 complaints of violence from HKJA, nine journalists involved had contacted the police. There have been 7 cases while two of them involved police officers.
The union representatives said that despite identifying themselves, the reporters had been pushed and their news coverage was disrupted by the police. The police responded that it was sometimes difficult to identify journalists and protesters.
The six news unions reiterated that according to Police General Orders, there should be mutual understanding between the police officers and journalists at the scene and that the police should facilitate the work of journalists and should not disrupt their work. Given the circumstances, the police should strengthen the measures facilitating the work of journalists. Yet, they have not made any concrete promise to lower the dangers of news covering.
The six news unions now propose the following requests to the Assistant Commissioner of Police:
1. Enforce Police General Orders and circulate the message to the rank and file to assist the media in covering news;
2. Police officers at the scene should take swift action to protect journalists who come under physical attack;
3. Strengthen the educational work and media training among police officers and frontline officers;
4. Allocate more police officers to assist the media in areas where chances of journalists coming under attack are higher.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
Independent Commentators Association
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
Ming Pao Staff Association
Next Media Trade Union
7 November 2014