HKJA: no National Security Laws without Freedom of Information Law

59.6 per cent of Hong Kong journalists, in a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (香港記者協會, HKJA), expect that press freedom would be “much restricted or “a bit restricted” with newly-appointed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) at the helm. Self-censorship was named as the most serious problem by 22.8 per cent of the respondents – 663 reporters, editors, photographers, and media managers, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quotes the survey.

43.5 per cent of them expressed worries that the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong would increase pressure on the media, and 35.9 per cent worried that the HK government would revive legislation on “acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the PRC”, as the basic law’s article 23.

More explicitly, a HKJA press release states that news people concerned about the article-23 project called on Mr Leung to refrain from legislating national security laws until universal suffrage is in place, improve the way that spot news is disseminated, draft a freedom of information law and provide less official footage and hold fewer off-the-record briefings.

The survey was carried out in April and May this year, for the HKJA’s 2012 annual report on freedom of expression which was released on July 2.

The HKJA report also sees a retrogression in press freedom during former Chief Executive Donald Tsang‘s (Tsang Yam-kuen, 曾蔭權) time in office, and sees the main reason for that in a restrictive handling of the HK government of its own information policy, the press industry’s self-censorship, and interference from Beijing, according to the BBC Chinese website.

The survey results were made public a day after 200 members of the association joined the July 1 march to protest against the police detention of an Apple Daily reporter who shouted out a question to President Hu Jintao about the crackdown on June 4, 1989,

writes the Hong Kong Standard. According to the HK Standard report, HKJA general secretary Mak Yin-ting (麥燕婷) didn’t comment on the forcible removal of the Apple Daily journalist, saying that she would wait for the police report.

According to Associated Press, the Apple Daily reporter was detained for about 15 minutes. Other reporters also shouted questions to Hu Jintao, but weren’t detained.

Hu visited Hong Kong on the 15th anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to China, and presided over a ceremony where Leung Chun-ying, chief-secretary Carrie Lam (Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, 林鄭月娥) and other Hong Kong top officials were sworn in on Sunday.

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Related

» This is Hong Kong, CMP, July 3, 2012
» A Sense of Depression, July 31, 2011
» The Divisive Power of Harmony, June 21, 2012
» How to Corrupt an Open Society, Aug 29, 2009

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