Hong Kong LegCo to discuss press freedom

One of the great things about Hong Kong — besides the food — is that it still has civil liberties. It is the only place in China where demonstrations against government policies are not broken up by the police and it is the only place in China that has free medial.

The Legislative Council in Hong Kong is taking up the issue of how government officials in mainland China — where civil liberties are severely restricted — are treating Hong Kong journalists.

Note that that the LegCo is also concerned about how the media companies treat their journalist employees.

Here is the notice as published by the Hong Kong government:

Department: Legislative Council

Serial No.: SER200910190209

LegCo to Debate Defending Freedom of the Press

The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

The Legislative Council will hold a meeting this Wednesday (October 21) at 11am in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building. During the meeting, Members will debate a motion on defending freedom of the press.

The motion, to be moved by Hon Emily Lau, states: “That some Hong Kong journalists, while covering news in Xinjiang, were assaulted, handcuffed and detained by law enforcement officers, and even accused slanderously by the local information office of inciting disturbance and violating the rules on news coverage; also, some Hong Kong journalists covering news in Sichuan were alleged by law enforcement officers of suspected possession of drugs and prohibited from going out; the above incidents have seriously undermined the freedom of news coverage and the public’s right to know as well as damaged the core values of freedom of the press; this Council condemns such acts and urges the Government to adopt the following measures:

(a) to solemnly reflect to the Mainland authorities that the law enforcement officers on the Mainland be requested to respect civic rights and freedom of the press, refrain from illegally detaining, arresting or assaulting journalists, and request the Mainland authorities to impose severe punishment on the offenders and ensure that similar incidents will not happen again;

(b) in regard to the unjust investigation of the abovementioned incidents and the slanderous accusation against journalists by the Mainland authorities, to request the Mainland authorities to make clarifications and apologies, conduct a just investigation afresh and release the investigation results to the public; and

(c) to enquire with media organisations about the problems and difficulties encountered by journalists when covering news on the Mainland, so as to provide as much assistance as possible;

this Council also urges media organisations to adopt the following measures to safeguard the security of journalists when covering news on the Mainland:

(a) to provide training to journalists to enrich their knowledge about the laws of the Mainland and enhance their abilities to handle unexpected serious incidents;

(b) to send more experienced journalists to take up news coverage of a more sensitive or dangerous nature; and

(c) to review the remuneration, insurance coverage and working hours of journalists and safeguard their personal safety, so as to avoid journalists leaving the profession and attract talents to pursue a career in journalism.”

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Filed under China, Harassment

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