Joint statement condemning brutal treatment of Hong Kong journalists reporting on Wukan

The Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Independent Commentators Association and Journalism Educators for Press Freedom have issued a joint statement strongly condemning the Lufeng authorities’ brutal obstruction of Hong Kong journalists reporting on the Wukan villagers’ rights protection movement. The groups note that in recent years, Hong Kong journalists have been repeatedly subject to interference and brutal treatment at the hands of law enforcement agents and people of unknown identity while reporting in the Mainland. In this latest incident, the Hong Kong journalists were unreasonably and violently muzzled. The four groups call on the Hong Kong SAR government to follow up on the incident, to safeguard the personal safety of Hong Kong journalists, and to take effective measures to protect journalists’ reporting rights.

After the Lufeng authorities sent hundreds of police to crackdown on villagers in Wukan, Ming Pao, the South China Morning Post and Hong Kong We Media dispatched at least five reporters to cover the confrontation between police and villagers. According to one journalist, a group of what is believed to be plain-clothes police broke down the door at a Wukan villager’s, where the journalists were hiding. The men asked the journalists to kneel down, one of the journalists received a blow to the back of the head, one was punched and one was pushed to the ground. A villager tried to protect the reporters without success. Although the journalists did not offer any resistance throughout the episode, they were roughed up, cursed and sworn at. They were later driven to the Lufeng Public Security Bureau and detained until 03:00. Police demanded they sign letters stating they would never return to report in Lufeng and agreed not to report any news related to Wukan. They were then taken to Shenzhen and ordered to leave.

The four associations are deeply concerned that the repeated interference faced by Hong Kong journalists reporting in the Mainland, and the continuous decline of press freedom will affect the work of journalists. Although Hong Kong journalists have been repeatedly obstructed and subjected to violence, we have not seen the Hong Kong SAR government following up on the incidents, nor have mainland authorities offered any explanation. In this latest Wukan incident, authorities have not produced any rationale or explanation for their unreasonable detention and violent treatment.

The four associations call on the Hong Kong SAR government and the Central Government to tolerate such reprehensible actions, to safeguard the personal safety of journalists, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. At the same time, we hope the SAR government can reflect Hong Kong journalists’ concerns to the relevant authorities. We hope journalists can carry out their work without unnecessary restrictions, so as to ensure the public’s right to know. We also hope the Central Liaison Office can carry out its role as a bridge, to reflect journalists’ needs to the relevant authorities so that reporters can carry out their work.

 

Hong Kong Journalists Association

Hong Kong Press Photographers Association

Independent Commentators Association

Journalism Educators for Press Freedom

 

15 September 2016

四新聞組織強烈譴責陸豐市當局粗暴阻礙香港記者採訪工作

香港記者協會、香港攝影記者協會、獨立評論人協會與大專新聞教育工作者聯席發表聯合聲明,強烈譴責陸豐市當局以暴力手段阻礙新聞工作者採訪烏坎村村民之維權行動。四會指出,今次事件再次反映香港記者在內地的採訪自由遭到不合理的暴力箝制;四會嚴正要求,特區政府跟進事件,確保新聞工作者的人身安全,並採取有效手段維護記者的採訪權。

陸豐市市政府近日派出數以百計公安鎮壓烏坎村的維權村民,《明報》、《南華早報》和《香港01》等至少五名記者到烏坎村採訪。據其中一名記者透露,昨晚一批相信是公安的便衣人員,到他們躲藏的烏坎村村民家中,破門入屋,叫他們蹲下,其間有人打他後腦,有記者被揮拳打中,亦有記者被按在地上,有村民嘗試保護記者,但不成功。期間記者一直沒有反抗,但仍然受到粗暴對待,被人用粗口指罵。他們其後被押上車帶到陸豐市公安局,扣留至凌晨近三時,記者被要求簽保證書,聲明以後不會再到陸豐「違規採訪」,並保證不報道有關烏坎的消息,然後被送到深圳邊境勒令離開。

四會深表關注香港記者在內地採訪不時受到干擾,而且漸見頻繁,憂慮新聞自由不斷倒退,影響記者的工作。近年來屢屢發生香港記者在內地採訪時被不知名人士甚至執法人員干擾或粗暴對待,事件每每不了了之,未見特區政府跟進或內地當局解釋。今次採訪烏坎村維權事件,記者被無理扣押,武力對待,是嚴重踐踏新聞自由的行為。

四會嚴正要求香港政府和中央政府不能縱容惡行,確保新聞工作者的人身安全,務必將行兇者繩之以法,並施以具阻嚇性的懲罰。同時期望特區政府能向內地有關當局反映本港記者的關注,讓新聞界的採訪工作不會受到不必要的限制,以保障公眾知情權。並期望中聯辦發揮橋樑角色,向內地當局反映記者的需要,令記者順利完成採訪。

香港記者協會
港攝影記者協會
獨立評論人協會
大專新聞教育工作者聯席
2016年9月15日

JEPF open letter reply to ISD rejection_Chi

禁新聞系學生採訪官方場合 政府拒絕會面商討解決方法

  • 對於政府拒絕讓大專的新聞系學生進入官方場合採訪,新聞教育工作者聯席對此感到非常失望。
  • 我們亦對新聞處長拒絕與新聞教育工作者聯席會晤深感遺憾。
  • 我們促請政府公開釐清新聞處批准拒絕不同傳媒機構進入官方場合採訪的準則,解釋何以此等新聞機構即使同樣已註冊或登記,但卻有不同處理方法。

在本年三月廿五日,本會已致函新聞處長聶德權要求會面,以討論相關事宜,信函全文如下:

Dear Mr Nip,
We are a group of educators teaching journalism in the journalism schools and departments of Hong Kong Baptist University(HKBU) , The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Chu Hai College.
Our students report on the news in Hong Kong as part of their hands-on training and education in the practice of journalism. This practical training is carried out under the supervision of teachers with long years of experience as professionals in the industry.
The reports produced are not just mere pieces of coursework or home-work, but are also stories for general circulation online and in print format.
In the course of carrying out their reporting duties, our students regularly encounter difficulties gaining access to official news conferences and events and to facilities set up for the news media. This seriously affects their ability to both gain valuable practical reporting experience and to report on the news for their publications.
Therefore, we would like to request a meeting with you and your colleagues to discuss the issue of access for reporters of student-produced news publications (both online and in print) of local journalism schools.
We look forward to your favourable reply.
Yours sincerely,
Eva Chan Sik-Chee, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Yuen Chan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Vivian Tam Wai-wan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU To Yiu-ming, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU Wong Tin Chi, Dept of Journalism, HKBU Lin Ching-kit, Dept. of Journalism & Communication, Chu Hai College

本會於四月十九日收到政府新聞處以下的回覆:

ISD reply to JEPF1

ISD reply to JEPF2

對此, 我們作出以下的回應:

敬啟者:

大專新聞教育工作者聯席於3月26日致函政府新聞處,要求約見 貴處人員,商討本地新聞系學生進入官方場合採訪事宜。可惜 貴處4月19日的覆函,完全漠視本會要求會面的要求,斷然禁止學生於官方場合採訪的機會,理由是場地限制、保安理由及現場秩序。本會對此感到非常遺憾。

貴處曾聲稱,官方採訪場合,一般會讓已註冊或持牌的傳媒機構進場。然而,並不是所有已註冊的機構都包含其中。到底孰能進,孰不可,當中如何決定, 貴處沒有清楚解釋。事實上,一些大專新聞系實習刊物,早於報刊註冊處註冊,學生記者卻仍不能進場採訪,原因為何?

貴處的覆函有云,特區政府尊重新聞自由,認同公開和透明的原則。基於這份精神,本會要求 貴處公開解釋拒絕學生記者進場採訪的原因,以釋疑慮。

此致

香港政府新聞處處長聶德權先生

大專新聞教育工聯席

2016年4月20日

陳惜姿,中文大學新聞與傳播學院, 陳婉雯,中文大學新聞與傳播學院,  譚蕙芸,中文大學新聞與傳播學院, 呂秉權,浸會大學新聞系,  杜耀明,浸會大學新聞系,  黃天賜,浸會大學新聞系, 林靜潔,珠海學院新聞及傳播學系

JEPF open letter reply to ISD rejection

Government refuses to meet JEPF to discuss media access for student journalists

  • Journalism Educators for Press Freedom is very disappointed by the government’s refusal to grant student journalists from Hong Kong’s tertiary level journalism schools and departments access to cover official events.
  • We deeply regret the Director of Information Services’ refusal to meet us to discuss this issue.
  • We call on the government to disclose the criteria it uses to decide which registered publications are allowed access while others are not (some of our student produced publications are registered periodicals).

On 25 March 2016, we wrote to the Director of Information Services, Patrick Nip Tak-kuen requesting a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter is quoted below in full:

Dear Mr Nip,
We are a group of educators teaching journalism in the journalism schools and departments of Hong Kong Baptist University(HKBU) , The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Chu Hai College.
Our students report on the news in Hong Kong as part of their hands-on training and education in the practice of journalism. This practical training is carried out under the supervision of teachers with long years of experience as professionals in the industry.
The reports produced are not just mere pieces of coursework or home-work, but are also stories for general circulation online and in print format.
In the course of carrying out their reporting duties, our students regularly encounter difficulties gaining access to official news conferences and events and to facilities set up for the news media. This seriously affects their ability to both gain valuable practical reporting experience and to report on the news for their publications.
Therefore, we would like to request a meeting with you and your colleagues to discuss the issue of access for reporters of student-produced news publications (both online and in print) of local journalism schools.
We look forward to your favourable reply.
Yours sincerely,
Eva Chan Sik-Chee, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Yuen Chan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Vivian Tam Wai-wan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU To Yiu-ming, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU Wong Tin Chi, Dept of Journalism, HKBU Lin Ching-kit, Dept. of Journalism & Communication, Chu Hai College

On 19th April, we received the following reply from Terence Yu Chi-wai for Director of Information services:

ISD reply to JEPF1ISD reply to JEPF2

Our open reply to the Information Services Department is as follows:

Journalism Educators for Press Freedom is disappointed by your reply to our letter dated 25 March 2016, requesting a meeting with you and your colleagues to discuss access to official events for student reporters of publications of local journalism schools.

We deeply regret that your letter of April 19th 2016 completely ignores our request for a meeting. Instead of engaging in a discussion as requested, you flat-out reject the granting of access to student reporters on the grounds of “the overall situation, including the capacity constraints, security requirements and on-site order”.
You also say that access to government media events is generally granted to registered or licensed mass news media organisations, but that not all the registered media organisations are granted access. Indeed, some student-produced publications are registered news periodicals.
Your letter states that the HKSAR Government fully respects press freedom in Hong Kong and adheres to the principles of openness and transparency. In the spirit of openness and transparency, we ask that you openly state the criteria by which some registered media organisations are granted access, while others are not.

Yours sincerely,

Eva Chan Sik-Chee, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Yuen Chan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Vivian Tam Wai-wan, School of Journalism & Communication, CUHK Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU To Yiu-ming, Dept. of Journalism, HKBU Wong Tin Chi, Dept of Journalism, HKBU Lin Ching-kit, Dept. of Journalism & Communication, Chu Hai College

 

明報突解僱執總姜國元 七會深表震驚

對於《明報》今日在凌晨時分以「報業經營環境困難」為由,突然解僱執行總編輯姜國元(筆名安裕),七個新聞業界的協會及工會深感震驚,認為理由牽強。對於一名在工作上溫和又專業的報人突然被以行政手段解僱,我們對本港的新聞工作的空間與自由度,深感憂慮與不安。

姜國元先後服務本港多家新聞機構,在2003年的反廿三條、2012年的反國民教育和民運人士李旺陽被自殺事件等敏感題目的報道上,均為領軍人物,是不少同事眼中的編採部「靈魂人物」,而作為執行總編輯及服務《明報》逾十多年的資深員工,姜國元負責重大新聞的部署,對該報之編採方針起主導作用。

《明報》今次以削減資源為理由,解釋今次的重大人事安排,當中卻令人有不少疑問,種種不尋常安排難免令人關注是否另有內情。另外,姜國元作為一名長年秉持客觀報道為原則,以公眾利益為報道考慮的資深新聞工作者,竟不見容於《明報》,我們感到極度遺憾,敦促《明報》管理立即就事件向公眾交代。

我們認為,《明報》既是一家企業,又同時是公眾賦予話語權的主流媒體,承載著海內外無數知識分子的支持、信頼和期許。姜國元作為資深編採部主要負責人之一,其在新聞選取、報道角度及影響分析等等方面所展示不偏不倚的專業報人風範,貢獻至巨。

際此政治爭拗不斷,香港新聞界極需像姜國元這種秉持公道原則,又具有政治、歷史及文化識見的新聞人,以相對公允而獨立的立場與角度,為香港社會與民眾報道新聞、引發討論,並警示危機。

我們認為,姜國元被解僱,不僅是《明報》,更是香港人的巨大損失;同時嚴重打擊明報編採部的士氣,實非受眾之福。

香港記者協會
獨立評論人協會
香港攝影記者協會
大專新聞教育工作者聯席
香港電台節目製作人員工會
壹傳媒工會
國際記者聯會
二零一六年四月二十日
‪#‎安裕‬

Eight media associations shocked by the dismissal of veteran editor

We are deeply shocked and disturbed by the sudden dismissal of Ming Pao’s Executive Chief Editor Keung Kwok-yuen.

In the name of “cost cutting”, the Chinese daily dismissed Mr Keung at midnight Wednesday with immediate effect. No reshuffle has been announced to fill his work.
The handling of Mr Keung’s dismissal is full of anomalies making it difficult for anyone to accept it as a pure cost-cutting move. The management owned its reader and the public an explanation.


Mr Keung is a veteran journalist who has spearheaded the coverage of major controversies in Hong Kong in the past decades. Among them were the 2003 rally against the national security law; the 2012 campaign against national education as well as the death of mainland political dissident Li Wang-yang. He was praised as the soul of the team by many staff members.


If a journalist as moderate and professional as Mr Keung cannot be tolerated, what does it say about the press freedom of Hong Kong?

We are deeply disturbed and worried.

The Hong Kong Journalist Association
the Independent Commentators Association
The Hong Kong Press Photographer Association
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
The RTHK Programme Staff Union
The Next Media Trade Union
The International Federation of Journalists
Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong
‪#‎安裕‬

As of April 21st 2016

JEPF statement on TVB’s de-facto demotion of journalist

The factual reporting by TVB News on the beating of social worker Ken Tsang by seven police officers in a corner of Tamar Park made waves in our society. Yet, TVB has moved Assistant News Editor Ho Wing-hong, who was responsible for the report, from frontline news gathering to the position of Chief Researcher. Journalism Educators for Press Freedom (JEPF) is deeply angered by this move.

We do not think there was anything wrong with the way Ho handled the news. Rather, it is TVB’s subsequent removal of the terms “kicked and punched” and “secluded corner” that bear the suspicion of self-censorship. Close to 100 TVB employees from the News and other departments have publicly voiced their disatisfaction and unease at management’s distrust of the original report.

We strongly condemn TVB News management’s shirking of its responsibility and failure to confront its mistakes. Instead, it is trying to clean up the mess and suppress  doubts publicly aired by the majority of staff by “killing the chicken to warn the monkeys”. In so doing, it is also ignoring the general public’s concern about possible self-censorship exercised by the TVB News Director.

What is wrong with journalists carrying out their duties according to professional judgement and conscience? Why must they be moved from their jobs as a result? We invite senior management at TVB News to give the public an explanation as to why Ho has been moved. We are also concerned about those members of staff who signed petitions over this incident and in support of colleagues who were attacked by anti-Occupy protesters. We will watch closely to see if they will be in any way punished.

In these difficult times, we need steadfast journalists standing at the frontline of news. The retribution carried out by TVB News is one more knife stabbed into our already imperiled press freedom. In view of such actions, will our young reporters still have the courage to report with conscience? As journalism educators, we cannot stand by and do nothing. We call on senior management at TVB News to make a public response!

 

就無綫秋後算賬的聲明

七名警員拉社工曾健超到添馬公園一暗角拳打腳踢,無綫電視新聞部拍攝到事件經過,如實報道,引起社會廣大迴響。無綫新聞部近日決定,把負責此新聞的助理採訪主任何永康調離新聞工作前線,轉職首席資料搜集員。我們對此秋後算賬之舉深表憤怒。

我們認為何永康處理該新聞的手法並無不妥,反而是無綫新聞部事後刪減新聞旁白,把「拳打腳踢」和「暗角」等用詞刪去,有自我審查之嫌。無綫新聞部和其他部門近百員工發表公開信表達不滿,就管理層對原來之報道不信任感到極度不安。

我們強烈譴責無綫新聞部決策高層推卸責任,迴避刪剪新聞的過失,反以殺鷄儆猴的劣技收拾殘局,壓平新聞部大部分員工的公開質疑,也懶理公眾對該台新聞總監自我審查新聞報道的關注。

新聞工作者憑專業判斷、憑良心做新聞,有何不妥?為何落得被調職的下場?請無綫新聞部高層公開解釋何永康被調職原因,給公眾一個交待。我們亦關注曾經聯署聲援的無綫員工,密切留意他們有沒有被牽連或懲罰。

香港正值多事之秋,正需要不偏不倚的新聞工作者站在前線。今次無綫新聞部秋後算賬,對本已危在旦夕的新聞自由,再插一刀。年輕記者看在眼裡,還夠膽憑良心做新聞嗎?我們作為新聞系老師,不能坐視。請無綫新聞部高層迅速回應!

就《明報》更換總編輯聲明

大專新聞教育工作者聯席,對《明報》突然更換總編輯,並傳出由馬來西亞籍人士「空降」此職感到意外和憂慮。聯席就此發表四點聲明

1. 《明報》是一份具影響力的報章,近年在偵查報道上屢創佳績,獲得不少獎項,成績有目共睹。在過去多年,《明報》總編輯皆由內部晉升,而歷任的《明報》總編輯都是有豐富香港經驗的傳媒工作者。今次由「空降人士」,擔任擁有編採實權的總編輯一職,屬於不尋常的人事調動,令人懷疑其中有沒有政治和商業考慮,甚至干預。

2. 目前香港處於政制改革的關鍵時期,新任總編輯若不熟悉香港情況,如何能在複雜多變的局面中掌握香港社會的脈搏,以港人的角度和利益去思考,同時又捍衛《明報》的辦報宗旨,切實擔當為民喉舌、監督權力的角色?

3. 這次人事變動,對《明報》員工士氣有一定的影響。管理層必須增加透明度,清楚向員工解釋是次重大決定的原委。《明報》管理層亦必須列出具體措施,以保證該報編採方針不受人事變動影響,員工能夠不偏不倚發掘真相、報道事實。

4. 香港近期發生多宗令人關注的傳媒事件,包括商台節目主持人李慧玲被調離原來節目、《信報》「獨眼香江」專欄因抽稿事件導致記者集體辭職、《經濟日報》刪改周博賢文章、壹傳媒被無綫電視封殺、港視不獲發牌等等。聯席呼籲傳媒高層共同維護香港的新聞和言論自由,捍衛港人核心價值。

JEPF expresses concern over transfer of Commercial Radio’s Lee Wai-ling

Journalism Educators for Press Freedom (JEPF) expresses its concern over the transfer of programme host Lee Wai Ling from Commercial Radio’s On a Clear Day.

On a Clear Day is an important and influential programme where opinions on policies and livelihood issues are freely expressed. Lee is a focal presenter, whose public image as a fearless and dogged monitor of the government is widely accepted by the public. Over the years, and at crucial times, Lee has played an important part by standing on the side of the weak. It would be a loss to Hong Kong to lose her voice.

Lee has worked at Commercial Radio for nine years and has been through many programme changes, but has never been in a situation as grave as the current one. Her sudden transfer from On a Clear Day is highly irregular. It is clear the two sides did not reach a consensus. For a morning programme to experience such a change will inevitably arouse suspicions that there are more than commercial considerations at play.

We are worried that the unreasonable transfer of a current affairs programme’s outspoken presenter will have a chilling effect and put pressure on other programme presenters.