FCC Statement on Unjust Sentencing of Myanmar Photojournalist Sai Zaw Thaike
FCC Statement on Blocking of The Kashmir Walla in India
Statement on Results of FCC’s Press Freedom Survey
An anonymous survey of the FCC’s Correspondent and Journalist members reveals that many are finding the working conditions in Hong Kong to be increasingly difficult.
This finding, if taken as a true indication of the sentiment amongst other members, is an alarming reflection of the current state of press freedom in the city.
Of 66 respondents who replied, 55 persons (83 percent) said the environment for journalists had changed for the worse in the last 18 months. Whilst only 22.5 percent of the 294 eligible Correspondent and Journalist members chose to complete the survey, the FCC nevertheless regards these findings as significant.
It was found that of 52 respondents who indicated that speaking to sources is part of their job, 46 persons (88 percent) said they found sources in Hong Kong had become less willing to be quoted or to discuss sensitive subjects in the last 18 months, a telling indication of fear levels in the community.
Four respondents to the survey said that they had experienced digital surveillance while reporting in Hong Kong in the last 18 months. One person said they had experienced physical surveillance, and four more people said that they had experienced both digital and physical surveillance. These respondents chose not to provide further details in the survey.
Respondents also reported taking a more cautious approach to content. Sixty-five percent of respondents (43 persons) said that they had practiced self-censorship in the last 18 months, either in the content of their reporting or by avoiding certain subjects. Twenty-seven percent of those (12 persons) said they had self-censored “considerably”.
That is a notable increase from October 2021, when the FCC’s last press freedom survey (in which there were 99 respondents) found that 56 percent of those respondents had self-censored, including 16 percent of them to a considerable degree.
The FCC supports journalists’ fundamental right to conduct their work freely and without fear of intimidation or harassment.
We will continue our proactive engagement with relevant authorities to safeguard press freedom in the city in order to make sure that Hong Kong remains a thriving hub for journalism and business in the region.
Read the full results of the survey, which was conducted in May, in the latest edition of the club’s magazine, The Correspondent.
FCC Statement on Political Cartoonist Zunzi
FCC Statement on Media Access
Press Freedom Survey 2023
|Press Freedom Survey 2023
|Dear Correspondent/Journalist members,|
|To mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the FCC press freedom committee is launching the second survey of its Journalist and Correspondent members for their thoughts on whether and how the environment for press freedom is changing in Hong Kong. We would really appreciate you sharing your experiences in this anonymous survey, which should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.|
|A link to the survey has been emailed to all Correspondent and Journalist members today. Printed versions of this survey are available at the Club’s front desk.|
|The survey will be open until midnight on Friday May 19.|
|Many thanks in advance for your time,|
|The press freedom committee|
FCC Statement on Closure of Voice of Democracy in Cambodia
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is deeply troubled by the forced closure of Cambodia’s leading independent media outlet, Voice of Democracy.
Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered VOD’s licence revoked, effective Monday, over what he said was an erroneous report about his eldest son. The prime minister had demanded an apology from VOD, but refused to reconsider the revocation even after the outlet later complied.
The sudden and arbitrary closure is a devastating attack on the country’s free press and is yet another example of the increasing restrictions on press freedom in Cambodia, coming after years of harassment and intimidation of journalists, independent media outlets, and civil society groups.
The FCC notes that the closure of VOD will have far-reaching implications for Cambodia’s already fragile democracy. As the country prepares for a general election in July 2023, Cambodian citizens need access to truthful and unbiased information to help inform their choices. The right to free and independent press is essential to the functioning of any democratic society and the FCC urges the Cambodian government to respect this fundamental right.
The FCC stands in solidarity with VOD and other independent news outlets in Cambodia, and supports all journalists’ right to cover stories without fear of harassment or arrest.
MOFA Responds to FCC Statement on the arrest of Ronson Chan, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association
The spokesperson of the Commissioner’s Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR strongly disapproved and firmly rejected the move of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) and a few Western anti-China politicians to slander the action taken by the Hong Kong police towards certain members of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in accordance with law and to interfere with the rule of law in the HKSAR.
The spokesperson said that Hong Kong is a society governed by rule of law where laws must be enforced and lawbreakers held to account. Both the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the National Security Law for the HKSAR stipulate that lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents are protected, including freedom of speech and the press. However, there is no absolute press freedom anywhere in the world that could be above law, and the identity of a journalist doesn’t mean they have amnesty or enjoy immunity for whatever they do. All journalists in Hong Kong must strictly abide by the laws of the HKSAR, and no one should engage in activities that damage Hong Kong’s stability under the name of journalism.
The spokesperson pointed out that the FCC and some Western politicians ignored the facts and took every opportunity to attack the SAR Government and supported anti-China forces in Hong Kong, which fully exposed their intention of meddling with the rule of law in the SAR and disrupting Hong Kong in the name of press freedom. Their tricks will bite the dust.
The spokesperson stressed that Hong Kong is in a new stage of moving from chaos to stability and then to greater prosperity, and no external forces could stop the sustained implementation of “one country, two systems”. We urge the FCC and certain Western politicians to recognize the fact, put themselves in the right position, respect the rule of law in the SAR, cease and desist from interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs for any reason, and stop going further down the wrong path.
Statement on the arrest of Ronson Chan, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association
The FCC notes with concern today’s arrest of the chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Ronson Chan. The club is monitoring the situation very closely.
The police have stated that Mr. Chan was arrested after he repeatedly refused requests to show his ID. He was detained on suspicion of obstructing a police officer and disorder in a public place.
Given Mr. Chan’s position as a prominent leader in Hong Kong’s journalism community, the FCC strongly urges the authorities to exercise transparency and care in handling Mr. Chan’s case. This is especially important given the international attention on press freedom in Hong Kong.
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 – is not at risk.The FCC supports journalists’ right to cover stories without fear of harassment or arrest.