A number of photo-journalists covering the Bills Committee meeting at the Legislative Council (Legco) this morning, found themselves being pushed and pulled and their cameras blocked by the security guards of Legco. The Hong Kong Journalists Association expresses deep regrets over such behaviour of the guards. When Legco President Andrew Leung responded to this incident, he said any person who obstructed the work of the Legco security guards is violating the Legislative Council（Powers and Privileges）Ordinance. He reminded journalists not to commit an offence in the course of their reporting work. HKJA demands Mr Leung to clarify this statement.
A number of photo-journalists pointed out that this morning when the Legco security guards were escorting a Legislative Councillor to leave the floor, some guards pushed the journalists at the scene, and blocked their’ cameras. Some journalists also reported a similar situation occurred during the Bills Committee meeting last Saturday. HKJA expresses deep regrets over such behaviour of Legco security guards in obstructing reporting.
The Legco President Andrew Leung, when asked about the conflict between reporters and security guards this morning, commented that according to the Legislative Council（Powers and Privileges）Ordinance, obstructing security guards at work is a violation of the ordinance. He said he hoped the journalists would pay attention to the ordinance which aims to ensure orderly meetings are conducted in the Legco. He asked journalists to respect the laws and not to commit any offences in the course of reporting.
HKJA believes that the Legco President has not recognized that the security guards obstructed journalist carrying out their reporting duties at Legco. He said journalists might commit an offence in obstructing security gurads’ work, but he has not given any explanation or elaboration. HKJA considers his statement as inappropriate.
HKJA will send a letter to Legco to demand clarification of Mr Andrew Leung’s statement. We would ask the Legco President to clarify if he considers the journalists have obstructed the work of security guards when they were covering the recent chaotic Bills Committee meetings. If the President really thinks the journalists have obstructed the guards’ work or even committed an offence, would Legco initiate any legal actions? We have to point out that it is a serious allegation to say reporters are obstructing the security guards work. As Mr Leung has said, such allegation might involve criminal offence charge. HKJA believes Legco should provide evidence and specific description to support the allegation. If the warning of criminal offence is issued it will be directed at reporters who are just carrying out normal reporting duties, this would only have a chilling effect and restrict press freedom.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
14 May 2019