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FCC Statement on July 1 Media Restrictions

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is deeply concerned by reports that some media outlets have been restricted from covering official events around the inauguration of Chief Executive-designate John Lee and the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

At least 10 journalists working for local and international publications had their applications to cover the events rejected for “security reasons,” with no further information provided, according to media reports and comments from our members.

This follows reports that several local and international outlets were not given the chance to apply for accreditation for the events in the first place.

In the past, similar official events were open to media registration without invitation or vetting.

The 25th anniversary of the handover, the inauguration of a new chief executive and the possible visit of a state leader together comprise a seminal event in the history of Hong Kong, and a moment deserving of widespread coverage in the international and local media.

Hong Kong’s government has repeatedly told the public that Hong Kong’s right to press freedom and free speech – enshrined in the city’s Basic Law – still exists.

The FCCHK views these restrictions – enforced without detailed explanation – as a serious deviation from that stated commitment to press freedom.

The FCCHK urges the government to immediately reconsider the restrictions to allow all outlets to cover this significant story.

FCC Minimum Spend

 
Dear Members,
 
With the lifting of many of the restrictions which have limited FCC activities for so long, we have been delighted to welcome back more members to the Club’s expanded offering of speaker events, film nights and our extensive F&B promotions. As a result of the Club being more accessible, please be advised that FCC Minimum Spend, which was rolled over from March means $1800 requirement (from January to June), will now appear on members’ June statements which will be sent in early July. We will continue to offer the opportunity for Members to purchase vouchers to be used in subsequent months if you are unable to utilise the Club before the end of June.
 
23 June 2022
 

FCC Statement on Media Handover Restrictions

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is concerned by reports that some media outlets have been restricted from covering official events around the inauguration of Chief Executive-designate John Lee and the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

Media reports have stated that several local and international outlets were not given the chance to apply for accreditation by the Information Services Department.

In the past, similar official events were open to media registration without invitation.

The FCCHK is concerned the procedure this year could set a precedent for excluding particular outlets from important events in future.

The FCCHK urges the Hong Kong government to reconsider the accreditation process to allow all outlets to cover these significant stories openly, in line with its stated commitment to press freedom.

FCC restrictions remain in place

FCC restrictions remain in place
 
Dear Members,
 
The Government announced an extension of the existing social distancing measures. Please note that showing proof of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result obtained within 24 hours before entering the relevant premises WILL NOT be applied to our club members and guests. This new measure is only applying to bars, pubs and nightclubs but the FCC is not affected because we operate as a clubhouse catering premise.
 
The Club restrictions and vaccine pass implementation will remain in place, feel free to visit https://www.fcchk.org/fcc-restrictions-update-on-2-june-2022/ for more information.
 
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
 
Keith Richburg
President
16 June 2022
 

 

FCC restrictions update on 2 June 2022

FCC restrictions update on 2 June 2022
      
Dear Members:
 
The current precautionary measures will be extended from June 2 until further notice. The current policies will continue as follows;
 
All restaurants will be open until 11:59 p.m. every day. Last orders for food will be at 10:50 p.m., while last orders for drinks will be at 11:30 p.m.
Maximum number per table is 8 now, each member can bring 3 guests.
Private functions and meetings can accommodate up to 120 persons. Please contact our team at [email protected] to discuss.
Still there is no music performances at Bert’s will be held at this time.
The health club continues to open, although the sauna and steam room will remain closed. No more than 6 people are allowed in the health club at a time and masks are no longer required while exercising. Pre-register is required with the gym attendant at 2844 2849.
All persons must wear a face mask at all times within Club premises, except when eating or drinking at the table.
Staff continues to complete a COVID-19 rapid test every 3 days.
               
The Club continues to implement the government’s “Vaccine Pass”. Anyone who is unable to provide valid proof of vaccination will be denied entry to the Club. Please be reminded that you and your guest are required to complete the 3rd dose starting from May 31. Please remember to upload your 3rd jab record to your LHS app and make sure you’re using the latest version of the app. See below for more details on the number of doses the pass requires and arrangement for recovered persons.
(https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202203/20/P2022032000438.htm?f_ontSize_=1)
 
Please be aware that mask wearing is a government requirement except when eating and drinking, and anyone not wearing a mask faces a $5,000 fine. In case of an inspection and a fine being issued, the Club is not responsible.
 
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
 
Keith Richburg
President
 
2 June 2022
 
 
 

FCC AGM on May 30

FCC AGM on May 30
 
Dear Members,
 
We’d like to remind everyone of Monday’s Annual General Meeting which will start promptly at 6pm in the Main Dining Room. We are aware there is additional interest this year so to help facilitate a smoothly-run meeting, here are some answers to questions members have asked recently:
 
How many people can attend?
Our capacity is 150.
 
Why can’t we get a bigger venue?
The location must be included in the official AGM notice, per our Articles of Association, and cannot be changed without restarting the AGM-holding process. Our Articles also compel the Club to hold an AGM between 15-31 May each year, so we can’t restart the process either.
 
Can motions be put forward at the AGM that were not included in the AGM notice?
No. However, under Any Other Business (AOB), members can bring up any issue for discussion. If there is a request for a vote, the Chair can allow a vote to get a sense of the membership’s views, but the result of any vote is not binding on the board because the issues were not included in the AGM notice. This is common corporate AGM practice around the world to allow members to be notified in advance of issues to be discussed.
 
Who can vote at AGMs?
All voting Members – that is, Correspondent, Journalist and Associate Members. Please note the capacity constraints on attendance.
 
What if I can’t attend but want to vote?
You can arrange a proxy – that is, nominate a Member attending to vote for you – by filling in a form and getting the original to Reception by Saturday, May 28 at 6pm. We are still looking into whether we can accept electronic versions and hope to have an answer later today. Please contact the concierge at 2521 1511 or email [email protected] with your email details if you’d like to be informed once we’ve clarified that.
 
What if Members want to compel the Board to do something not already on the AGM agenda?
Members can call for an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held at a later date. The rules around holding EGMs can be found in our Articles of Association.
 
Can we stream the meeting to expand capacity?
No. It’s not possible to do that at this point, not least since votes in the meeting have to be checked by our auditors. This is a legal requirement and we’re currently not set up to do this remotely.
 
What if I have other questions?
Please contact the concierge at 2521 1511 or email me at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer before the meeting.
 
Keith Richburg
President
27 May 2022
 

 

FCC Board of Governors 2022-2023 Election Result

Congratulations to the new FCC Board of Governors for 2022-2023. They will begin serving after the Annual General Meeting on May 30.
 
We would like to thank the outgoing Board members for their service.
 
The new Board members are listed below.
 
PRESIDENT
Keith RICHBURG
 
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Hannamiina TANNINEN
 
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Tim HUXLEY
 
CORRESPONDENT GOVERNORS
Rebecca BAILEY
Jennifer JETT
Kari Soo LINDBERG
Kristie LU STOUT
Shai OSTER
Olivia PARKER
Peter PARKS
 
JOURNALIST GOVERNORS
Zela CHIN
Joe PAN
 
ASSOCIATE GOVERNORS
Genavieve ALEXANDER
LIU Kin-ming
Christopher SLAUGHTER
Richard WINTER
 

Further relaxation of restrictions starting May 19

    
Further relaxation of restrictions starting May 19
      
Dear Members:
 
Following the Government announcement of the further easing of pandemic restrictions starting May 19, the FCC’s policies will be updated as follows;
 
All restaurants will be open until 11:59 p.m. every day. Last orders for food will be at 10:50 p.m., while last orders for drinks will be at 11:30 p.m.
Maximum number per table is 8 now, each member can bring 3 guests.
Private functions and meetings can accommodate up to 120 persons. Please contact our team at [email protected] to discuss.
Still there is no music performances at Bert’s will be held at this time.
The health club continues to open, although the sauna and steam room will remain closed. No more than 4 people are allowed in the health club at a time and masks are still required while exercising. Pre-register is required with the gym attendant at 2844 2849.
All persons must wear a face mask at all times within Club premises, except when eating or drinking at the table.
Staff continues to complete a COVID-19 rapid test every 3 days.
               
The Club continues to implement the government’s “Vaccine Pass”. Anyone who is unable to provide valid proof of vaccination will be denied entry to the Club. Please be reminded that you and your guest are required to complete the 3rd dose by end of May. See below for more details on the number of doses the pass requires and arrangement for recovered persons.
(https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202203/20/P2022032000438.htm?f_ontSize_=1)
 
Please be aware that mask wearing is a government requirement except when eating and drinking, and anyone not wearing a mask faces a $5,000 fine. In case of an inspection and a fine being issued, the Club is not responsible.
 
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
 
Keith Richburg
President
 
19 May 2022

 
 

FCC relaxes restrictions starting May 5 and continues to implement “Vaccine Pass”

    
FCC relaxes restrictions starting May 5
and continues to implement “Vaccine Pass”
      
Dear Members:
 
Following the Government announcement of the further relaxation of pandemic restrictions starting May 5, the FCC’s policies will be updated as follows;
 
All restaurants will be open for dine-in service until 10 p.m. every day. Last orders for food will be at 9 p.m., while last orders for drinks will be at 9:30 p.m.
Maximum number per table is now extended from 4 to 8, each member can bring 3 guests.
The takeaway menu is available from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The menu can be downloaded from our website at fcchk.org. Please place orders with the FCC Restaurant at 2844 2806 or [email protected]. All orders will be confirmed by a phone call.
Private functions and meetings for a maximum of 20 persons can be arranged. Please contact our team at [email protected] to discuss.
No music performances at Bert’s will be held at this time.
The health club is open, although the sauna and steam room will remain closed. No more than 4 people are allowed in the health club at a time and masks are required while exercising. Please pre-register with the gym attendant at 2844 2849.
All persons must wear a face mask at all times within Club premises, except when eating or drinking at the table.
Staff will complete a COVID-19 rapid test every 3 days.
The Government also announced that from Thursday May 19, all restaurants can open until midnight and we can accept banquets up to 120 persons.
               
The Club continues to implement the government’s “Vaccine Pass”. Anyone who is unable to provide valid proof of vaccination will be denied entry to the Club. Please be reminded that you are required to complete the 3rd dose by end of May. See below for more details on the number of doses the pass requires and arrangement for recovered persons.
(https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202203/20/P2022032000438.htm?f_ontSize_=1)
 
Please be aware that mask wearing is a government requirement except when eating and drinking, and anyone not wearing a mask faces a $5,000 fine. In case of an inspection and a fine being issued, the Club is not responsible.
 
For a full detail of the relaxation scheme please visit: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202205/04/P2022050300895.htm
 
We thank all Members for their understanding and your continued support.
 
Keith Richburg
President
 
5 May 2022

 

Message from the President on World Press Freedom Day

Message from the President on World Press Freedom Day
3 May 2022
As we mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, we should pause and remember the many journalists and media workers killed so far this year in Ukraine while covering the conflict and in other trouble spots including Afghanistan, Mexico, Myanmar and around the world. They sacrificed their lives for the mere act of reporting, which should never be a crime and should never cost a journalist their life.
The past year has also seen an erosion of press freedom globally, with increases in threats against journalists, the use of legal tools to target legitimate reporting, online threats and harassment against journalists, a tsunami of disinformation aimed at undermining truthful reporting, and of course censorship. Here in Hong Kong, some news outlets have been forced to close and journalists arrested because of the application of the colonial-era sedition ordinance.
What do we do now and how do we face the future?
As a press organization, we will continue to try to hold the S.A.R. government officials to their word that Hong Kong continues to enjoy press freedom. That means we will continue to speak out on issues directly impacting the media, when it is appropriate and always within the law — since the Basic Law also allows for free expression. We will issue public statements when we feel our voice can make a difference, and we may at times send private letters to government officials expressing our concerns and seeking clarification or seeking to meet.
We will continue to express our deep concerns over any type of “fake news” law in Hong Kong and how such a law might be used to hinder legitimate reporting, and to offer our expertise on the subject. We will push for journalists to have access to public records and databases. We will continue having speaking events about press freedom, to which we invite government officials to attend. And we will continue holding workshops for journalists, including on matters involving physical safety, online threats and harassment, data protection, as well as mental health and trauma.
Hong Kong authorities should be willing to accept legitimate comment and criticism without resorting to automatic claims that the FCC is somehow “interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs” or “smearing one country, two systems.” I respectfully remind them that the FCC has been in Hong Kong for 73 years, and its members include many Hong Kong natives, permanent residents and long-time residents. The FCC is Hong Kong. We are a part of the fabric of the city and adding our voice to the discussion should be welcomed, not maligned. Moreover, what makes “one country, two systems” more than just a vacant slogan is that unlike elsewhere, Hong Kong has a diversity of voices and views, and everyone is allowed to voice those within the law, and without being subjected to veiled threats, intimidation and reprisals. As George Orwell said; “Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticise and oppose.”
I know a few members who disagree with the decision of the FCC Board of Governors to suspend the Human Rights Press Award, even though there are clear and acknowledged concerns that continuing the Award in the current political climate would have posed a real and an immediate risk. I am thrilled the HRPA will continue in the future under a new administrator, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and new regional co-sponsors. But I’m saddened the FCC will no longer have any involvement or affiliation.
Some suggest that if you cannot speak out on every issue, then the Club should not speak on any issue. I disagree. I believe the majority of our members, as well as our friends, supporters and absentee members around the world, all understand that it is still better, indeed imperative, that we continue to speak up as forcefully as we can when we can. This means that we can continue to discharge our journalistic duties and maintain the level of civic discourse for which Hong Kong is rightly proud.
We do not plan to give up. Walking away now, when we can still try to have some impact and when we have something very much worth protecting, would be a betrayal to all those who have made great sacrifices for the profession of journalism, and for trying to seek the truth.
Keith Richburg
President

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