商台節目主持李慧玲被調離《在晴朗的一天出發》,大專新聞教育工作者聯席表示關注

對於商台節目主持李慧玲被調離早晨節目《在晴朗的一天出發》,大專新聞教育工作者聯席表示關注,擔心香港言論空間將會收窄。

商業一台節目《在晴朗的一天出發》是本港重要的輿論陣地,對於政策及民生方面影響深遠。李慧玲是該節目的重點主持,監察政府不遺餘力,其不畏強權的形象深入民心。多年來扶助弱勢,站在被欺壓者的一方,在香港重要時刻發揮關鍵作用。香港若缺少了這份聲音,將是一個損失。

李慧玲與商台有九年的工作關係,之前曾經歷過節目調動,也未嘗有這種不愉快的經驗。今次她被倉促調離節目崗位,事件絕不尋常。她被調到主持傍晚的節目,雙方顯然沒有共識。早晨節目的人事調配,也未見有周詳考慮,不免令人懷疑這番調動有超越商業因素的考量。

我們擔心,一位敢言的時事評論節目主持,遭到如此不合理的節目調動,將對其他節目主持人構成心理壓力,產生寒蟬效應。

TVB回應「古思堯事件」有關查詢

有關查詢「古思堯事件」,TVB回應如下:

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。

謝謝

外事部

曾醒明

有關傳召記者就燒區旗案作供的譴責聲明

6月3日,無綫電視記者何永康應法庭傳召,就社運人士古思堯和馬雲祺被控企圖侮辱區旗案出庭作供。

雖然何永康曾請求豁免於庭上作供,擔心此舉會對新聞界的專業操守構成負面影響,但不獲法庭接納。誠然,控方傳召記者出庭作供是極為罕見的。

此案開庭前,無線電視已應警方要求,提供當日示威情況的「出街」片段,另外又協助或配合警方,讓警員在將軍澳電視城內,對何永康以及其他曾處理該片段的攝影、傳送、剪接、編輯、採訪和報道的台前幕後的無綫新聞部員工錄取口供。

而在今次出庭前,何永康已於一年之內接受警方三錄口供。

對於當局在檢控他人的過程中牽涉記者,大專新聞教育工作者聯席表示強烈遺憾和深感困擾,尤其此案已有很多目擊證人,包括警務人員。

我們認為:

  • 當局對記者錄取口供並要求其出庭作供的做法是不尋常、不必要和不合理的
  • 事件反映當局欠缺敏感度,對記者如實、公正報道的角色並沒足夠認識和尊重,要記者為檢控被訪者作供或作證會嚴重影響記者不偏不倚的形象
  • 當局這次做法,對記者和新聞界立下了一個很壞的先例,構成了惡劣的影響

與此同時,無綫電視管理層未能全力支援員工,沒有對他們提供足夠的法律和精神支持,大專新聞教育工作者聯席對此表示震驚和強烈遺憾:

  • 無綫這次的做法明顯偏離以往的慣例,在沒有法庭的命令下已向警方提供新聞片段
  • 無綫協助或配合警方,讓警員在公司物業內,對所有涉及製作、處理、採訪和報道該新聞的員工錄取口供
  • 此舉嚴重打擊新聞部的尊嚴和專業形象
  • 無綫並沒確保員工充分知悉自己的法律權利,包括緘默權
  • 無綫未能對何永康和受影響的員工提供全面和足夠的法律和精神支援,又強調何永康於首次錄口供後,曾經離職,一度並非其僱員。但事實上,何永康之所以牽涉此事,全因他當年任職無綫時所做的採訪工作

此事突顯前線記者,清楚知道自己的權利是十分重要的,因為當局可能會要求記者為新聞採訪錄取口供和出庭作供。

我們促請當局充分尊重記者獨立、如實和公正報道的角色,防止類似的情況再次發生。我們亦呼籲新聞機構在這些情況下,必須全力支援員工,給與他們法律和精神上的支持,捍衛新聞界的獨立和尊嚴。

大專新聞教育工作者聯席

2013年6月13日

Email: info@hkjepf.org

大專新聞教育工作者聯席是一個關注新聞自由、採訪環境和新聞學術的組織,由大專院校的新聞系老師組成,成員包括:

中大新聞與傳播學院講師 陳婉雯
中大新聞與傳播學院講師 譚蕙芸
中大新聞與傳播學院高級講師 陳惜姿

浸大新聞系助理教授 杜耀明
浸大新聞系講師 黃天賜
浸大新聞系客席高級講師 呂秉權

 

JEPF Condemns the Summons of TVB Journalist Ho Wing-hong to Testify in Flag Burning Case

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:

  • The authorities’ decision to call on a reporter to make statements and then testify in court was unusual,   unnecessary and unjustified
  • It shows a fundamental lack of awareness of and respect for journalists’ role in covering news in a truthful and fair manner, a role that is seriously undermined if they are called on to testify or give evidence against the people they are reporting on
  • These actions set a troubling precedent and have serious repurcussions for journalists and the news industry as a whole

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:

  • Departing from past standard practices by giving footage to police in the absence of a court order
  • Facilitating  police interviews on company premises with all staff members who were in any way involved with the story and footage in question
  • In so doing, failing to uphold the dignity of the newsroom and news profession
  •  Failing to ensure colleagues were fully aware of their legal rights, including the right to remain silent
  • Failure to provide full or adequate legal and moral support to affected employees, including Mr Ho and stressing that he was not a TVB employee for a period of time after the first police interview at TVB and before his court appearance. The fact is, Mr Ho is only involved in the case because he was on assignment for TVB news at the time and place of the incident.

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.

Hong Kong Journalists’ Association Letter Campaign

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.

Details and sample letter here

Former Companies Registrar Critical of New Company Director Rule

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

JEPF Opposes Exemption for Media in New Companies Ordinance

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:

  • Such a move would require defining (presumably by the government) what constitutes journalism, journalistic activities and news organisations at a time when definitions and boundaries are being constantly redrawn in the face of changing technology and the internet.
  • Journalists are not the only group of people affected by the changes. Everyone has the right to protect their interests by using the information from the Companies Registry. With the information obtained, they may take action such as appealing to the press for follow-up action. This helps society to monitor irregularities.
  • Journalists are a part of society, they should serve society. They should not be pushed into a special category of people who depend on the government to grant them privileged access to what should be public information.
  • The withholding of hitherto publicly available information damages freedom of information in Hong Kong. Even if journalists are granted an exemption, they would still be working in an environment with restricted freedom of information. This affects society as a whole and is bad for the practice of journalism.

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)

 

大專新聞教育工作者聯席要求當局撤回公司條例有關查冊的修訂附例

立法會新修訂的《公司條例》中,其中一條附例《公司(住址及身分識別號碼)規例》列明,公司董事及秘書的個人資料如住址和身分識別號碼,將列為不供公眾查閱資料。這個修訂將嚴重打擊新聞界,本聯席感到十分擔憂及焦慮。

公司查冊一向是記者進行偵查報道的重要工具,從一個住址,可找出千絲萬縷的資料,根據線索,可發掘出全幅圖畫。這些資料讓新聞界掌握真憑實據,揭露高官或議員的利益衝突、踢爆矇騙公眾的問題公司。政府現時封殺此渠道,等於扼殺記者重要的消息來源。

財經事務及庫務局,連同公司註冊處,就《公司條例》有此重大修改,卻只諮詢公眾一個月(2012年11月至12月中),其中新聞從業員竟從未被諮詢,做法粗疏,叫人髮指。

此事已在新聞界引起極大迴響,當局在維護市民私隱的同時,應保存公眾最大的知情權。因此,本聯席要求當局撤回這項修訂附例,讓新聞界可以繼續捍衛公眾利益。

大專新聞教育工作者聯席

2013年1月8日

Statement on Companies Ordinance

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