The Hong Kong Journalists Association strongly condemns the barring of the Hong Kong press from covering the APEC ministerial conference now taking place in Indonesia.
The move came after some Hong Kong reporters asked President Aquino if his administration would apologize to the families of victims of the Manila hostage taking incident. The incident had been poorly handled, resulting in the deaths of eight Hong Kong residents in 2010. The reporters asked the questions on the sidelines of the summit.
Aquino ignored the questions. But several officials then approached the reporters and seized their accreditation cards, declaring: “We don’t welcome you. You offended our Excellency.”
The reporters were then told they would not be allowed to cover the Summit and barred from entering the Press Centre.
The journalists involved are from Now TV. Commercial Radio and Radio Television Hong Kong. These reporters and photographers are now barred from the Summit. No official explanation has been issued so far.
HKJA Chairperson Sham Yee-lan said: “It is a journalist’s job to ask questions of public concern. The Hong Kong public remains concerned with the killing of its people during the hostage taking crisis for which Manila has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation.
“The barring of the media for asking critical questions is an outright infringement of press freedom that is totally unacceptable.”
Ms Sham added: “While we would not be surprised to see such outrageous actions in the Philippines, we are appalled to that this is allowed to take place at an international gathering like APEC.”
The association look forward to a satisfactory explanation and resolution of this incident. We also hope that the Hong Kong Government will take up this matter with the relevant authorities to make sure our press are not barred from the summit.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
6 October 2013