The Hong Kong Police Force last week amended the definition of “media representative” in the Police General Orders turning them into a process of screening the media in disguise. Many reports have shown that the police have arbitrarily pulled up orange belts at the scene of public events in recent days, and conducted large-scale searches of reporters within the cordon. In the past few days, Chris Tang Ping-keung , the Commissioner of Police has spoken many times, claiming that the main changes target “reporters who wear yellow vests”, as some of them will attack police officers and others hinder the police, or even snatch away suspects. But the information mentioned is incomplete and lacks conclusive evidence.
Tomorrow (October 1) is the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival. It is expected that some citizens will take to the streets. This will be the first large-scale public event after the police revised the definition of “media representative”. In view of this, HKJA decided to commence the “Observer Program” and arranged three volunteer observers (one from each of the Journalist Association’s executive committee, a lecturer in the journalism department, and a working journalist) to record public events on Hong Kong Island.
The three observers will wear fluorescent green vests with the label “Observer” for identification. They will record the arrangements made by the police for the media, the behavior of the Force Media Liaison Cadre, and the behavior of reporters. Observers may use photographic equipment to record videos or interviews at related events. The materials recorded by the observers will be used for, but not limited to, the internal research or legal proceedings of the association. The right to read the relevant materials is limited to the executive committee of HKJS or related persons authorized by the executive committee.
We hope you will pay attention to the above plan, provide convenience to the observers and do not hinder them from recording.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
September 28, 2020