無綫新聞部只向律政司提供當日已經播放的新聞片段, 警方之後向新聞部人員包括記者、攝影師和複製及處理該新聞片拷貝的人員落口供, 確認所提供的片段是現場拍攝、傳送、不經人為修改,在落口供時公司法律部人員一直在場陪同。
On June 3rd 2013, TVB journalist Ho Wing-hong appeared in court to testify in the case of activists Koo Sze-yiu and Ma Wan-ki who were charged with attempting to set the S.A.R. flag alight in a protest held on April 1st 2012 against alleged interference by Beijing in the Chief Executive election
The summons of a reporter to testify in such a case is extremely rare. Although Mr Ho protested that his appearance would jeopardise his professional role as a working journalist and requested exemption from testifying, this was refused.
Mr Ho’s court appearance came after TVB responded to a police request for footage of the incident by handing over the broadcast version of the story. The company also facilitated police interviews at its premises with Mr Ho and other colleagues involved in the filming, reporting and relaying footage of the incident, as well as editing, sub-editing and voicing-over the news items covering the incident.
Mr Ho was interviewed and asked to make statements three times over the course of a year before being summoned to appear in court.
JEPF strongly regrets and is deeply disturbed by the way authorities have involved journalists in the prosecution of the case, especially as there were many other witnesses at the scene, including police officers. We believe:
JEPF is also shocked by and strongly regrets the actions of TVB management in handling the case and its failure to give adequate legal and moral support to its own employee by:
This incident highlights the importance for frontline journalists to be fully aware of their rights when it comes to being asked to provide statements and testimony related to the news they cover.
We urge authorities to fully respect the role of journalists in reporting independently, truthfully and fairly and to desist from similar actions in the future. We also call on news organisations to fully back their staff and provide them with full legal and moral backing in such cases, and to stand up for the independence and dignity of the profession.
We strongly condemn the attack on Hong Kong journalists covering news of Hong Kong activist Why Yang’s attempts to visit Liu Xia, wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is being kept under house arrest in Beijing.
The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association has launched a letter campaign demanding that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying actively follow-up on the case and work to safeguard the safety of Hong Kong residents.
Gordon Jones, the Registrar of Companies between 1993 and 2007, says the reasons for withholding information on company directors are weak to begin with, and the consequences of such action will be worse than expected for Hong Kong’s international reputation.
If enacted, the new provisions will undermine the principles of accountability and transparency that lie at the heart of Hong Kong’s company law, undermine our corporate governance standards and adversely affect Hong Kong’s image as a major international business and financial centre.
Read his op-ed in the South China Morning Post here
The following is the text of a letter sent by JEPF to Legislator Emily Lau for discussion by pan-democrats in LegCo
07 February 2013
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom (JEPF) is a group of teachers of journalism from Hong Kong’s tertiary education institutions. We are concerned about the state of press freedom in Hong Kong and the reporting conditions for Hong Kong journalists in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
JEPF is deeply concerned about provisions in the amended Companies Ordinance which will hide the residential addresses and ID card numbers of company directors from public access. This move strikes a blow to transparency and accountability in Hong Kong’s commercial and financial sectors and public life.
The government argues the move is necessary to safeguard privacy but the Privacy Commissioner has only ever received two complaints related to information obtained from company records, neither of which was upheld.
We are aware the government has been sending out signals that it may be willing to grant an exemption to the news media but we wish to state that we are opposed to this ‘concession’. Some of the reasons are:
We ask members of the Legislative Council not to accept an exemption but to instead call on the government to remove the relevant section on disclosure of this information.
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
Names: Yuen Chan(陳婉雯), Eva Chan Sik-chee(陳惜姿), Vivian Tam Wai-wan(譚蕙芸), Avis Or Wai-sum(柯惠心), Emily Owen(翁愛明), Bruce Lui Ping-kuen(呂秉權), To Yiu-ming(杜耀明)
The new Companies Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council in July last year. The Legislative Council is currently discussing provisions which include the withholding details of the residential addresses and Identity Card/Passport numbers of company directors from public access. We believe this amendment presents a severe setback to journalists in Hong Kong. Journalism Educators for Press Freedom (JEFP) is extremely concerned and worried about this development.
Company searches have always been an important tool for investigative journalism. From a single residential address, journalists can discover leads that help them to uncover facts and untangle webs of interconnections and show the bigger picture. This information allows journalists to grasp concrete evidence in exposing conflicts of interest among senior officials and elected representatives, and to reveal the shady practices of dishonest companies. To cut off this channel of discovery is to seriously stifle an important source of information for journalists.
The Financial Services and Treasury Bureau, together with the Companies Registry, is enacting this big change but only allowed one month for public consultation (November to December 2012). We find this woefully inadequate and are extremely disappointed that practitioners from the news industry were not a part of the consultation.
This issue is provoking strong responses from the news industry. While protecting the public’s rights to privacy, authorities should also preserve the public’s right to know to the highest degree. Therefore, JEFP requests that the government withdraw this particular amendment and allow the news media to continue to protect the public interest.
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
January 8 2013