A police senior inspector was escorted by several people who were suspected to be police officers after he attended the District Court today (19/1) when he encountered the press. The suspected police officers obstructed the press and claimed “we will arrest you all if you take photos”. We strongly condemn any acts that undermine freedom of the press and emphasize that journalists are entitled to conduct interviews in public areas. The Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association demand that the police seriously investigate and follow up the incident. If the Police confirm that any of their officers obstructed the press, the officers involved should be reprimanded and the bad practices should be rectified immediately.
According to the report of Stand News, the location of the incident was the car park in the Wan Chai Government Building, which does not constitute any part of the court area. The reporters at the scene had clarified many times that the location is not court area and people can take photos and videos there, but the group of people continued to ignore and said, “Tell me, why I cannot cover your camera lens?” Even after the reporters showed them press card, the group of people still queried “Is it an official media organization?”
HKJA and HKPPA reiterate, frontline journalists conduct interviews in order to perform their fourth estate and to dig out the truth for society. No one should obstruct or interfere with their work.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
19 January 2021