Sing Pao Destroying Press Freedom
Sing Pao yesterday carried a regular column by writer Lau Yui Siu but with its contents altered without informing the writer, to match the news of the day. Such blatant infringement of press freedom is totally unacceptable. The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemns in the strongest terms this blatant destruction of press freedom.
Upholding the truth is what journalists do. However, Sing Pao altered the column in a manner that the thrust of the article is completely different from what the writer had intended. This is totally unbelievable and seriously affects the integrity of the media industry. This action has also enraged many people.
The chief editor said the alteration was made to conform with its news reports. This is totally unacceptable behavior on the part of the editor.
We believe, however, that even though Sing Pao was under pressure to take such action to conform with the policy of the Central Government it is, nevertheless, unacceptable practice. Instead, the newspaper should reject any request that damages the freedom of the press. It should not obey such instructions and surrender its editorial independence.
The owner’s secretary of HKEJ also received a call from the Liaison Office of the Central Government which also attempted to interfere in the freedom of the press. Now it is Sing Pao indulging in self-censorship by changing the contents of an article, thus raising the people’s awareness that Central Government officials are interfering in the freedom of the press in a blatant manner. This clearly shows that the Central Government only regards the media as a tool, regardless of the fact that freedom of the press is one of the core values of Hong Kong people.
HKJA strongly condemns the Central Government officials for trampling on One Country, Two Systems and freedom of the press. HKJA also requests that the media industry insists on upholding its autonomy, independence and objectivity in order to safeguard Hong Kong people’s right to know.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
23th March 2012