|The FCC Hong Kong joins the FCCC in condemning Chun Han Wong’s de facto expulsion from China. It calls on the Chinese government to respect media freedom and to allow foreign correspondents to work freely without fear of punitive measures such as non-renewal of their visas.|
|FCCC issued the following statement:|
|The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China is saddened and angered to learn that Wall Street Journal reporter Chun Han Wong has been effectively expelled from China after authorities declined to renew his press credentials.|
|As far as the FCCC is aware, Wong is the sixth journalist to leave China under such circumstances since 2013. Many of those who have been evicted are talented and professional correspondents who have sought to understand China and tell its stories in a factual and unbiased fashion.|
|The FCCC notes with particular concern a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which it accuses “a few foreign reporters” of “maliciously tarnishing China,” adding: We don’t welcome such reporters.” It was Chinese president Xi Jinping himself who, in 2017, said “we encourage reporters to travel and see more of China… to learn about and continue to report on more aspects of China.”Expulsions of journalists from China amount to an extreme attempt by Chinese authorities to punish news organizations that conduct factual work that does not cast the country or its leadership in a flattering light. Foreign correspondents are not propaganda workers, and should not be treated as such.|
|The FCCC condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of visa non-renewal as a form of punishment. Such treatment of foreign correspondents runs completely counter to Chinese claims that it supports openness and inclusiveness. Such actions should raise further concerns as China prepares to host major future global events, such as the Winter Olympics in 2022.|
Is the Sino-British Joint Declaration dead? Two experts give their views
The question of whether the Sino-British Joint Declaration was dead was the topic of debate at a sold-out club lunch on August 29.
Guest speakers Alan Hoo, Chairman of The Basic Law Institute, and lecturer at CUHK’s Centre for China Studies, Tim Summers, gave their views on the relevance of the document, drawn up between Britain and China as part of an agreement to hand sovereignty back to China.
Both speakers also gave their take on the current protests gripping Hong Kong, and what they determined to be the next steps to resolving the crisis.
Watch the video
Essential tips for Hong Kong journalists reporting suicide and mental health issues
The media’s role and its responsibilities in reporting suicide and mental health issues were outlined in a workshop for journalists, part of an FCC series focused on the Hong Kong protests.
Following rumours and speculation about a number of suicides that were directly linked by some Hong Kong media to the ongoing protests in the city–and giving details of how they were carried out–Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong, issued advice to journalists covering the topic at a breakfast briefing on August 27.
Prof Yip encouraged media professionals to provide more information around suicide prevention to help raise awareness of the support available to those experiencing mental health issues. He also advised journalists covering the Hong Kong protests to take rest for the sake of their own physical and mental health.
An audience member and representative of the Hong Kong Samaritans revealed that the nature of calls to the organisation’s hotline had recently changed, with many callers worried about the protests.
You can download the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention’s recommendations on suicide and mental health reporting here.
The Hong Kong Samaritans website can be found here, and the 24/7 hotline number is 2896 0000.
Watch the breakfast briefing
FCCC statement on search and detention risk for journalists travelling between Hong Kong and China
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has warned that journalists travelling between Hong Kong and China risk being detained and having their digital devices searched.
“Journalists travelling through Beijing and Shenzhen have been subjected to such searches, which have in some cases involved detention of several hours”, the FCCC said in a statement.
“The FCCC strongly condemns any use of border powers by Chinese authorities to target properly-accredited journalists for search and detention” and added that “unnecessary and arbitrary searches constitute intimidation and harassment”.
It warned that “particular care” should be taken with devices that contain confidential material.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has received multiple reports in recent days and weeks of Chinese border officials detaining journalists and searching their digital devices when travelling between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Journalists travelling through Beijing and Shenzhen have been subjected to such searches, which have in some cases involved detention of several hours. Officials have searched phones, cameras and laptops belonging to journalists who work for at least five organizations headquartered in North America and Europe. In at least one instance, a correspondent was barred from using a phone to notify others of the detention.
The FCCC strongly condemns any use of border powers by Chinese authorities to target properly-accredited journalists for search and detention. In some cases, officials have cited non-existent visa problems as grounds for detention.
Unnecessary and arbitrary searches constitute intimidation and harassment and hamper correspondents’ ability to report freely and openly in mainland China and Hong Kong.
The FCCC also warns correspondents to be mindful of the possibility of search and detention when returning to mainland China from Hong Kong. Particular care should be taken with electronic devices that may contain confidential material.
FCC expresses ‘grave concern’ over attack on journalist at Hong Kong Airport protest
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club expresses grave concern over the attack by protesters on a journalist at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
A reporter from Global Times was assaulted and detained by people protesting at the airport who tied his hands with plastic straps.
We call on protesters to respect the right under Hong Kong law of journalists, regardless of nationality or news organisation, to cover events free from intimidation or violence.
The FCC has become alarmed by the growing number of reports of violence toward journalists by protesters, including attacks last week on vehicles belonging to TV station TVB.
Attacks on members of the media doing their job are unacceptable, regardless of the allegiance or views of the perpetrators.
We have called on the Hong Kong Police Force to respect the freedom of the press and the right of journalists to cover events, including protests and other police operations, unfettered and free of violence and threats.
Those who have concerns with a news organisation’s coverage can express their views on social media, in comments sections and other forums, but under no circumstances should they harass frontline journalists and block them from doing their job.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club stands with the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Photojournalist Association and with freelance and unaffiliated journalists in condemning acts of violence directed at the media and in demanding protesters, the Hong Kong government and the police all respect Hong Kong’s long tradition of press freedom.
The FCC’s open letter to the Hong Kong police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai Chung can be found here.
Notice: Fire Drill
Essential tips for journalists on digital security while covering Hong Kong protests
Digital security expert Lokman Tsui gave tips and insights into how journalists can take precautions to protect themselves, their work and their sources’ digital communications while covering politically sensitive events.
What apps and email providers to use, how to adjust your phone settings to protect hackers and police interference, and what news organisations can do to better protect their reporters were topics that were covered during the August 13 briefing by the Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The event took place the day after the club sent an open letter to Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo outlining concerns over the deterioration in relations between the police and the media covering the Hong Kong protests.
Watch the video here
FCC letter to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police, Lo Wai Chung, Stephen
Commissioner Lo Wai Chung, Stephen
Commissioner of Police
Monday, 12 August 2019
An open letter to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police, Stephen Lo Wai-chung
Dear Commissioner Lo,
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is greatly concerned about the deterioration in relations between the police and media since the onset of the anti-extradition bill protests in June. We are particularly concerned at the escalation of violence at numerous locations across the city over the weekend of August 10 and 11, 2019.
We appreciate the efforts of the police to improve transparency by holding regular press conferences. However, we feel the most pressing issues concern the actions of some frontline officers and their interaction with the media whilst covering protests. Journalists should not interfere with police work and neither should the police deliberately hinder nor prevent journalists from doing their job. With this in mind, we offer the following concrete suggestions for your consideration.
1. Police officers should refrain from shining lights directly at news photographers and camera operators.
2. Officers should assume that those at a protest who are wearing jackets and helmets clearly marked “Press”, “記者” etc. are actually journalists and not imposters. The Hong Kong government does not issue an official press card. As such journalists can only produce cards issued by their employer or affiliated organisation.
3. Police should exercise much greater restraint in the use of tear gas. The victims of excessive tear gas deployment in residential areas include residents, bystanders and journalists covering the demonstrations as well as the protesters themselves. The firing of tear gas rounds inside Kwai Fong MTR Station on Sunday, August 11, 2019, was particularly egregious and posed a serious health risk.
4. Police officers should, whenever possible, ensure that their ID is visible and present their warrant card on request if needed. We are aware that many officers are concerned at possible doxing attacks, the publishing of personal contact details, but we would remind them that they are public servants who should be held accountable for their actions.
5. Liaison officers should be embedded in every tactical unit deployed at each protest site. It is important, moreover, that they have the authority to brief the media on tactical operations and to exercise some measure of control over those operations.
6. Liaison officers should give journalists advance warning of any police action that might endanger those covering the event so that they can move to a safer location.
7. If journalists are injured, police should ensure that they are provided with swift and unhindered medical attention.
8. Police officers should respond promptly to any incident in which members of the public and journalists come under attack from organised gangs, and ensure the perpetrators are arrested.
9. If journalists have a legitimate complaint against particular officers, the liaison officer should ensure those complaints are investigated in an efficient and transparent manner.
10. If police officers are found to be negligent in their duty, they should be disciplined, and the results of the investigation made public so that the complainant can be satisfied the case was handled properly.
11. We acknowledge that everyone is working under extremely stressful conditions, but it is important that frontline police officers remain calm and not overreact to provocation from protesters. When talking to the press, they should make requests in a clear, concise manner and not use insulting and obscene language or make threatening gestures.
We welcome any comments you might have on these suggestions, as well as any thoughts you have on the actions that journalists can take to improve relations with the police. We also encourage you to reach out to other press organisations, such as the Hong Kong Journalists Association, and engage in a meaningful dialogue with them.
We extend once again our open invitation to you and your colleagues to discuss these issues at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club either in a public or a more private setting.
This letter will be made public in the hope that a wider cross-section of media professionals and other stakeholders can engage in this important discussion and offer their own insights.
President, on behalf of the Board of Governors and Press Freedom Committee of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong.
Statement from the HKJA and HKPPA
The HKJA and HKPPA issued the following statement condemning attacks on journalists in North Point.
Inside the Hong Kong protests, as told by the reporters and photographers on the ground
The challenges facing journalists and photographers covering the Hong Kong protests were discussed by members of the media who have been on the ground since the demonstrations began in June.
Jennifer Creery, senior reporter for Hong Kong Free Press; Damon Pang, multimedia journalist for Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK); AFP photographer Anthony Wallace, freelance journalist Eric Cheung, and Chris Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, revealed their thoughts on the protests during the August 8 club lunch.
From covering the demonstrations as part of a small team to dodging tear gas, the panel detailed the ups and downs on reporting on the frontline.
Watch the video here.