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FCCT Statement on Journalists and Body Armour

FCCT statement on journalists and body armour


The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand is deeply unhappy with the decision of the Thai authorities to file criminal charges against a British journalist for carrying personal body armour and a gas mask in his check-in luggage.


Tony Cheng was detained and subsequently arrested at Suvarnabhumi International Airport last night as he prepared to board a flight to Iraq. He was on assignment for the Chinese state broadcaster China Global TV News (CGTN), formerly CCTV. He has already covered the battle for Mosul this year, where body armour is indispensable


Cheng was this afternoon charged under the 1987 Arms Control Act, which categorises gas masks and body armour as restricted military equipment. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.


It should be noted that Cheng was leaving the country at the time of his arrest, and intended to use the banned safety equipment outside Thailand. He therefore posed no conceivable threat to national security.


The FCCT has on a number of occasions offered to work with the Thai government to find a way whereby journalists and others (particularly medical personnel) who may be required to work in conflict zones can carry personal protective equipment. The club sought a solution to this problem as a matter of urgency after a photojournalist from Hong Kong was detained and charged in August 2015 for trying to carry body armour through a Thai airport. After a time-consuming and expensive legal process, charges were eventually dropped in that case.


Some journalists based in Thailand have to cover armed conflicts in other countries, and are required by their employers and insurers to travel with adequate protective equipment. Under the present implementation of the 1987 law, they are presented with an invidious choice: break Thai law or increase the risk to life and limb. It is worth recalling that two foreign journalists were killed in the violence in Bangkok in 2010; both might have survived had they been wearing body armour.


The FCCT urges the Thai authorities to drop the charges against Tony Cheng, and to find a way going forward whereby journalists are able to carry the equipment they need to protect themselves.


The FCCT stands ready to assist in resolving this divisive issue.


Press Freedom Committee

Wednesday, 31 May 2017




Election Result for The Board of Governors 2017-18

Income Statement – April 2017

April 22, 2017 Board minutes

Eric Wishart talks fake news with journalists in Macau

FCC President Eric Wishart spoke to journalists in Macau about the challenges of combating fake news. Photo: Screen shot FCC President Eric Wishart spoke to journalists in Macau about the challenges of combating fake news. Photo: Screen shot

FCC President Eric Wishart talked about the challenges of fake news and how mainstream and social media could combat its spread when he spoke to the Macau Journalists’ Association on May 12.

Interviewed by local television stations after the event, Wishart endorsed the idea of news organisations and social media giants partnering to try to stem the spread of fakes news through a joint verification process.

He told TDM News: “Fake news always existed… It’s news that is fabricated to be presented as real to deceive people often with malevolent intent. The president of the United States, saying the New York Times is fake news, he can say what he likes but it’s not fake news. Fake news is not a story that a politician doesn’t like. It’s also not a mistake that a journalist makes.

“We are moving into this world of kind of a parallel universe where one part of the population is properly informed. You can debunk and prove it as false as much as you like. They don’t want to hear that. They will believe Donald Trump, they will believe New York Times as fake news.”

Wishart, who in April chaired a lively opening discussion on the same topic at the FCC’s second Journalism Conference, emphasised that fact checking was more important than ever and suggested social media and news organisations could fight the spread of fake news together.

Wishart added: “With all these multiple sources of information, journalists no longer control the agenda. I think the way ahead is on one hand, the internet giants – the Facebooks, the Twitters, the Googles – fighting it without resorting to censorship, which is… we’re entering a very grey area there… and just as the media has partnered for journalists’ safety I think they have to partner now when it comes to verification.”

The 21st Human Rights Press Awards announces its winners

The Human Rights Press Awards winners are announced at the FCC. Photo: (c) 2017 The Human Rights Press Awards winners are announced at the FCC. Photo: (c) 2017

The 21st Human Rights Press Awards announced its full list of winners and merit prizes at a ceremony on Saturday. The presentation was held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong.

The 21st Human Rights Press Awards had received received 324 submissions in total. There were 144 submissions from Chinese-language print and broadcast media, 122 submissions from English-language print and broadcast media and 58 photojournalism entries.

All submissions covered human rights-related issues in the Asian region. They were published or broadcast in professional media outlets in 2016.

The full list of winners is below.

The awards are jointly organised by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. They were the first such honours created in Asia and are the region’s top awards for human rights-related reporting.

English Spot News

Winner: “A woman’s gruesome hanging shocked Tibet — but police have silenced all questions”
Simon Denyer – The Washington Post
Simon Denyer – 華盛頓郵報

Merit: “Wukan series: Wukan riots”
Mimi Lau and Jun Mai – South China Morning Post
優異﹕《烏坎村系列: 烏坎騷亂》
Mimi Lau and Jun Mai – 南華早報

English Feature News

Winner: “Bacha bazi: child sex slavery in Afghanistan”
Anuj Chopra – Agence France-Presse
大獎﹕《童戲 : 阿富汗兒童性奴》
Anuj Chopra – 法新社

Merit: “Stateless Rohingya flee Myanmar crackdown”
Sam Jahan and Shafiqul Alam – Agence France-Presse
Sam Jahan and Shafiqul Alam – 法新社

English Broadcast

Winner: “Malaysia: Babies for Sale”
Chan Tau Chou – Al Jazeera English
大獎﹕《馬來西亞: 販嬰》
Chan Tau Chou – 半島電視台英語頻道

Merit: “Maid in Singapore”
Lynn Lee and James Leong – Al Jazeera English
Lynn Lee and James Leong – 半島電視台英語頻道

English Multimedia

Winner: “The Impunity Series”
Patricia Evangelista and Carlo Gabuco –
Patricia Evangelista and Carlo Gabuco –

Merit: “Duterte’s War”
Andrew R.C. Marshall, Clare Baldwin, Damir Sagolj, John Chalmers, Manny Mogato, Karen Lema, David Lague, Jerome Morales, Ezra Acayan and Erik De Castro – Reuters News
Andrew R.C. Marshall, Clare Baldwin, Damir Sagolj, John Chalmers, Manny Mogato, Karen Lema, David Lague, Jerome Morales, Ezra Acayan and Erik De Castro – 路透社

English University Text

Winner: “Hong Kong’s working homeless”
Chloe Kwan, Stanley Lam/ The Chinese University of Hong Kong – Varsity
Chloe Kwan, Stanley Lam/香港中文大學 -Varsity

Merit: “The Exploited”
Lee Ching Yee / The Chinese University of Hong Kong – Varsity
Lee Ching Yee / 香港中文大學 – Varsity

English University Broadcast

Winner: “Seeking refuge in Lesvos”
Choi Wun Ting Martin, Christoph Donauer/ The University of Hong Kong
Choi Wun Ting Martin, Christoph Donauer/ 香港大學 –

English Secondary Text

Winner: “I stand with Ahmed”
Victoria Li and Kate Ellen Lowe/ Marymount Secondary School – MSS Messenger
大獎: 《撐Ahmed》
Victoria Li and Kate Ellen Lowe /瑪利曼中學 – MSS Messenger

Chinese Spot News

優異獎:  《手機應用程式洩私隱系列報導》
調查組記者 –  傳真社
Merit: “Mobile apps leaking personal data”
Investigative Team – FactWire News Agency

優異獎:  《IT選民大增之謎》 – 岑詠欣、林浚源、李穎欣、賴偉家、蔡瑤、張煒明 – 明報
Merit:  “Mysterious ballot growth in the information and technology legislature constituency”
岑詠欣、林浚源、李穎欣、賴偉家、蔡瑤、張煒明- Ming Pao

Chinese Feature News

大獎: 《殘疾院舍黑幕系列報道》
龍婉琪 , 趙振龍, 陳凱敏, 勞顯亮, 羅嘉凝 – 香港01
Winner﹕”Abuse at care centre for the disabled”
龍婉琪, 趙振龍, 陳凱敏, 勞顯亮, 羅嘉凝 – HK01

優異獎: 《我看到「菲版杜林普」以外的真實 》
周澄 – 端傳媒
Merit: “The truth behind ‘Trump of the Philippines’”
周澄 – Initium Media

趙思樂 – 端傳媒
Merit:  “709 family members: the year-long journey from victims to activists”
趙思樂 – Initium Media

Chinese Commentary

優異獎: 《書寫抗爭系列評論》
趙思樂 – 端傳媒
Merit: “Reporting on activism”
趙思樂- Initium Media

Chinese Broadcast

大獎: 《刀鋒上的公義》
陳偉利 – Now News, Now TV
Winner: “Blades of Justice: Story of Jiang Tianyong”
陳偉利 – Now News, Now TV

優異獎: 《立法會選舉大埔票站三百票之謎 》
楊量傑 – 有線新聞
Merit: “Mystery of 300 Ballots at the Taipo polling station for the Legislative Council Election”
楊量傑 – i-Cable News

優異獎: 《香港有個尼泊爾記者 》
莫志樑 – 有線電視
Merit: “The story of a Nepalese journalist in Hong Kong”
莫志樑 – i-Cable News

Chinese Multimedia

大獎: 《離岸之前 》
林佑恩, 蔣宜婷, 吳政達, 王珣沛 – 報導者
Winner: “Leaving the shore: story of Indonesian fishermen in Taiwan”
林佑恩, 蔣宜婷, 吳政達,王珣沛 – The Reporter

優異獎: 《菲律賓掃毒戰爭直撃》
魯嘉裕 – 香港01
Merit: “Anti-Narcotics Campaign in the Philippines”
魯嘉裕 – HK01

Chinese Radio

大獎: 《追蹤烏坎事件五周年》
陳妙玲 – 香港電台
Winner: “Fifth anniversary of the Wukan crackdown”
陳妙玲 – RTHK

優異獎: 《丈夫無罪:709維權律師家屬》
陳妙玲 – 香港電台
Merit:  “My husband is innocent: 709 family members”
陳妙玲 – RTHK

Chinese University Text

大獎: 《跨性別 難得一廁》
張美萍, 陳穎思, 林家儀/香港中文大學 – 大學線月刊
Winner: “Transgender toilets nowhere to be found”
張美萍, 陳穎思, 林家儀/Chinese University of Hong Kong – U-beat Magazine

優異獎: 《缺陷美 身體雖殘美麗有法》
沈敏兒, 潘祖兒/香港中文大學- 大學線月刊
Merit: “Imperfect beauty”
沈敏兒,潘祖兒/Chinese University of Hong Kong  – U-beat Magazine

Chinese Secondary Text

優異獎: 《同一片天空》
袁展柔, 張祝珊/張祝珊英文中學 – 評台
Merit: “Beneath the same sky”
袁展柔,張祝珊- Cheung Chuk Shan College – Pentoy

Photography Feature

Winner: “Quezon City jail”
Noel Celis – Agence France-Presse
大獎: 《奎松市監獄》
Noel Celis – 法新社

Merit: “Philippines’ Drug War”
魯嘉裕 – HK01
優異獎: 《菲律賓掃毒》
魯嘉裕 – 香港01


Merit: “They Were People Too”
Dondi Tawatao – Getty Images
優異獎: 《他們也是人》
Dondi Tawatao – Getty Images

Photography Spot

Merit: “Lamentation”
Raffy Lerma – Philippine Daily Inquirer
優異獎: 《哀悼》
Raffy Lerma – Philippine Daily Inquirer

Merit: “The arrest of Wukan party secretary and the protest against it”
羅君豪 – HK01
優異獎: 《烏坎村書記林祖戀被指涉嫌受賄,遭武 警強行帶走。其後數天村
自發遊行抗議,為林祖戀伸 冤》
羅君豪 – 香港01


FCC Hong Kong marks World Press Freedom Day

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong will mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May by observing one minute’s silence at the Main Bar at 6pm, with remarks by Club President Eric Wishart honouring journalists killed in the line of duty.

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a total of 13 journalists have so far been killed this year, with eight of the deaths confirmed by the CPJ as directly related to their work.

Three were from the Asia Pacific region: Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Closer to home, in Hong Kong, the FCC and our partner organisations, including the Hong Kong Journalists Association, have witnessed continued deterioration in the overall press and publishing environment.

The Club is a staunch defender of the fundamental principles of press freedom, media pluralism and journalistic independence.

On World Press Freedom Day, we call on governments around the world to respect freedom of speech, freedom of expression and to aggressively investigate crimes committed against journalists in the course of their work.

In Hong Kong, we call on Carrie Lam, the chief executive-elect, to implement her promise of enacting a freedom of information law and archives law.

The FCC event is part of a global day of action called by the International Association of Press Clubs, of which the FCC is a member.

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