The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) of Hong Kong has invited Chan Ho-tin, the convener of the Hong Kong National Party, to speak at a lunch talk this month. It was reported that the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has sent a representative to urge the Club to “reconsider” their invitation. The Acting President of FCC has confirmed and said the event would go ahead. HKJA is concerned about the incident.
HKJA is worried that the act of the ministry’s commission is an attempt to put pressure on local organisations. We are concerned it would result in self-censorship, prompting local organisations and individuals to avoid holding similar talks and seminars on sensitive topics in order to avoid troubles. As a result, we fear the room of freedom of speech will be undermined.
We support the decision by FCC to insist on the principle of freedom of expression. We believe insisting on upholding of freedom of speech and pluralistic views are the best safeguard of press freedom.
HKJA stressed that the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bills of Rights protect freedom of expression in Hong Kong. Local organisations have the rights under the laws to invite speakers to give a speech. It is also specified in Article 22 of the Basic Law that all offices set up in Hong Kong by departments of the Central Government and the personnel of these offices shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR.