HKJA deeply regrets Carrie Lam’s refusal to condemn
the Mainland police use of force against Hong Kong reporter
At the Legislative Council’s question and answer session today, the Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam responded to a legislator’s question about NOW News cameraman being manhandled and violently arrested in Beijing last week. Mrs Lam did not condemn the violent behavior of the Mainland policemen against the journalist. She only expressed the importance of both sides to show mutual respect, and said the SAR government was very concerned about the incident. The Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed its deepest regret about her tepid response to this issue.
Mrs Lam stated that when the journalist was beaten in Beijing, the law enforcement agencies in the Mainland were working under the law, therefore they must respect each other. The HKJA questions whether Lam’s statement implies the cameraman who was violently mistreated was reporting illegally.
Mrs Lam has repeatedly stressed that the constitutional responsibility of the Chief Executive is to safeguard one country, two systems and to uphold the “Basic Law”. Article 27 of this same “Basic Law” stipulates that Hong Kong residents shall enjoy the freedom of speech, press and publication. It follows that the Chief Executive should defend the lawful reporting rights of the Hong Kong media. From the statement issued by Mrs Lam yesterday, she has apparently failed to fulfil her responsibility to safeguard press freedom of Hong Kong reporters.
HKJA reiterated that the Mainland authorities should account for the mistreatment of the repsorter. Why should the Beijing policemen treat the NOW News reporter who held a lawful press permit with such violent arrest – pinning his face to the ground, handcuffing and detaining him? What were the legal justifications? The HKJA also requires the Hong Kong Government to follow up the issue.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
25 May 2018