Apple Daily reported that, after the newspaper published the article about assistant police commissioner Rupert Dover and his wife suspected of renting out a house illegally, the profile picture of a Facebook account purported to belong to Dover’s wife was switched to the person in charge of the report of Apple Daily. HKJA expresses concern about this incident, worried that someone intends to intimidate journalists and suppress press freedom. We urge relevant parties to clarify the purpose of the unauthorized use of journalist photos as soon as possible. The police should also thoroughly investigate the behaviour of the relevant police officers.
HKJA believes it is not a coincidence that the profile picture of a Facebook account suddenly changed after the report was published. The relevant actions will cause psychological pressure on the reporters involved and make them uneasy. We must point out that the persons involved in the report are public officials and should specifically respond to the content of the report when facing negative news, rather than targeting individual reporters.
As the incident also involved the personal privacy of journalists, HKJA urges the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to follow up and investigate actively.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
2 May 2020