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

 

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