The news industry has repeatedly reported the increasingly severe and frequent police violence and arrests against reporters to the police force, but there was no effect. Hong Kong Press Photographers Association launched a silent operation at a regular press conference of the police today (November 4) and HKJA called for responses. The reporters who responded during the period have been sitting still without shouting any slogans, but the police eventually cancelled the press conference, which deprived people of their legitimate right to access information. The industry expressed its opinions most peacefully and silently, but the police still refused to accept it. HKJA deeply regret this and urge media organizations not to punish the reporters who are brave enough to safeguard the rights and dignity of the news industry.
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association launched a silent operation “Check Police Violence and Stop Police Lies” today. Respondents put on helmets with slogans at the press conference silently to urge the police to stop using violence against reporters, including spouting pepper, tear gas bombs, gas masks, and even arbitrary arrests. During the operation, the reporters did not stand and shouted slogans. Even after being driven away unreasonably, they still kept their posts and waited for the press conference to begin.
However, Mr. KO Chun Pong, SP (Media Relations) (Police Public Relations Branch), who presided over the press conference, demanded that the reporters displaying the slogans leave, stating that the press conference was not the place for demonstrations, and even accused the reporters of depriving others of the right to reporting. Even though most of the media at the scene shouted “Can continue (the press conference)”, the police still insisted on cancelling the press conference.
We must point out that the “Police General Orders” stipulates that police officers must cooperate with the media as much as possible with understanding and accommodation, and they should not hinder the media’s filming. But frontline police officers at the scene of the conflict are on the verge of running out of control and often attack journalists. HKJA has repeatedly trying to arrange a meeting with the police since June, but all have been turned away. After June 11, the Police Public Relations Branch has not met with frontline reporters to discuss appropriate reporting arrangements. Mr KO Chun Pong claimed that journalists could reflect their opinions through suitable occasions and channels, which is nonsense.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
4 November 2019