The conflicts between protesters and police are becoming more fierce over the past few days, and the situation has intensified. Scores of journalists injured at the protests today (November 17), among them, a Mag Dog Daily photographer was shot by the police water cannon, he showed signs of internal bleeding in the brain, another photographer of Stand News was also burned by petrol Bomb. Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association express condolences to the injured and wish them a speedy recovery. At the same time, we are increasingly worried about conflicts between police and civilians.
The forces of the police and the protesters have escalated recently, and the conflict sites are becoming more and more dangerous. It is no different from the battlefield, significantly increasing the chances of injury. The two associations hope that journalists should be more alert at the scene. While maintaining the citizens’ right to know, journalists must take their safety as the first consideration, the management of media organizations also need to pay more attention to the safety issues, review and improve journalists’ safety equipment.
A number of journalists were hurt when covering the continuous conflict in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The Mag Dog Daily photographer fell to the ground after being hit by a police water cannon; a Stand News reporter was burned with a petrol bomb; another reporter from Stand News was hit by a stone and injured his foot; a Reuters reporter was wounded by a spike on a roadblock. The police also claimed that a member of the Force Media Liaison Cadre was hit in the calf by an arrow.
We now remind frontline reporters that they have the right to refuse to participate in the reporting when they have reason to believe that the duty will threaten their safety, or their employers did not provide adequate protective equipment or failed to bear the relevant risks. We also require the management of media organizations to refrain from disciplinary actions against the above reporters. If front-line journalists are being treated unreasonably, please contact us.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
17 November 2019