Pressure steps up for FOI laws in Hong Kong

It’s nice to see that the journalists in Hong Kong are once again calling for a freedom of information law.

I recall back around 2000 we were having this discussion.

And now it’s back.

Hong Kong Journalists Seeks Information Law Amid Free Press Woes

Hong Kong journalists called on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to enact a freedom of information law and reverse trends that include greater reliance on written statements and attacks on reporters.

The Chinese city should pass a freedom of information law that allows “maximum disclosure” of government data and documents, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in an annual report. Hong Kong currently relies on a non-legally binding code to allow access to government information, it said.

Press freedom in the former British colony has seen a “noticeable deterioration” since the 1997 handover, with Leung’s government increasing secrecy, the report said. China guaranteed press freedom and other civil rights in Hong Kong, and isn’t subject to state censorship practiced in the mainland.

“On the general press freedom front, the Leung administration’s policies have been far from satisfactory,” the report said. “Mr. Leung and his ministers have relied increasingly on press statements — instead of full press conferences — to get their message across, which denies journalists the opportunity to ask questions.”

Read rest of article.

One of the things so many Western reporters — hell, non-Hong Kongers in general — forget is that under the terms of the 1997 handover treaty between China and Great Britain, Hong Kong is enjoys political autonomy from Beijing for 50 years. That means the territory has all the civic and human rights enjoyed by citizens of democracies.

Yep, Hong Kong is ruled by China but it is governed by its own leadership and by rule of law.

It would be great to see Hong Kong join the rest of the world by enacting a FOI law soon.

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