Demonstrations have continued in recent months. The government has repeatedly emphasised that it will not tolerate violence, but on the other hand, it turns a blind eye to the police’s verbal and even physical violence against reporters. Last night (November 3), a correspondent and a student reporter were unreasonably arrested by riot police officers while they were covering public unrest. A number of news unions and agencies strongly condemned the police for obstructing reporters and urging the chief executive to instruct the police to immediately stop all acts that impede press freedom so that all enforcement actions can be fully recorded. At the same time, we also demand that the police immediately release the detained reporters.
According to several media reports, a correspondent of “Stand News” was arrested by the police on suspicion of “resisting or obstructing a public officer or other people lawfully engaged in a public duty” during reporting at Cityplaza last night. It is clear from the news footage that the reporters were filming the police officers at a reasonable distance before the arrest and did not hinder police work at all. However, several riot police officers rushed forward and pushed the reporter to the ground and arrested him.
Also, the Baptist University Student Union issued a statement strongly condemning the police for unreasonably arresting the journalism student reporters of the union last night in Tai Koo Shing. The reporter was not involved in any front-line demonstrations at the time. The Students’ Union also alleged that after the arrest of the reporter, he was intimidated by police officers with words involving sexual violence. Although the student has been released, he still needs to report to the Chai Wan Police Station.
The above incident is striking the bottom line of the Basic Law guaranteeing press freedom. We once again urge Chief Executive to fulfil the promise of signing the “Press Freedom Charter”, during the election campaign and resolutely defend press freedom.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
Independent Commentators Association
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
Ming Pao Staff Association
Next Media Trade Union
RTHK Programme Staff Union
4 November 2019