The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, along with 17 other organizations, today urged the Hong Kong Police to scrap the proposed decision to redefine journalists and to recognize all journalists accredited with the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association.
IPI has vehemently criticized the decision of the Hong Kong Police to stop recognizing journalists not registered with the government.
Following is the joint statement:
GLOBAL PRESS ASSOCIATIONS JOINT-STATEMENT: THE HONG KONG POLICE FORCE MUST SCRAP THE UNILATERAL REVISION OF ITS DEFINITION OF MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES IN THE POLICE GENERAL ORDERS TO INTACT THE FREEDOM OF PRESS IN HONG KONG
On 22th September 2020, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) announced that it will revise the definition of media representatives in its Police General Orders. We strongly oppose the unilateral decision made by the HKPF as it is overruling the current guideline without consulting any press entities in Hong Kong and it is severely hindering the work of frontline journalists in Hong Kong by creating more ambiguity and potential conflicts with the police force at the frontline.
Under this amendment, any unconventional or free-lance media workers affiliated with the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association can potentially be expelled or even arrested from the media zone by HKPF as they have now applied their own ambiguous definition and validation procedure of journalists’ identities.
By over-ruling the well-established guideline between the Press Association and the HKSAR Information Services Department, this amendment can unfortunately only be deemed an administrative obstacle for the HKPF to limit the 4th right of media at any controversial scenes.
The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to have freedom of opinion and expression; which includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers. Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law also states clearly, which protects the freedom of press in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has dropped from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in 2020 in the RSF World Press Freedom Index. Our observation concludes that the press freedom in Hong Kong is declining at an accelerated rate since the promulgation of the National Security Law on June 30th 2020.
We strongly demand the HKPF to scrap the amendment and stop eroding Hongkongers’ rights to basic freedoms, including the freedom of the press and information.
Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions, Sri Lanka
Federation of Nepali Journalists
Free Media Movement
International Federation of Journalists, Asia-Pasific
International Press Institute (IPI)
Journalists Association of Korea
National Union Journalists of Peninsular Malaysia (NUJM)
National Union of Journalists (India)
Norwegian Press Association
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
Polish Association of Journalists (SDP)
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
The Norwegian Union of Journalists/ NJ
Timor Leste Press Union (TLPU)
Union of Journalists in Finland