FCC and HKJA ‘concerned’ at government demand for journalists’ personal details for Handover anniversary coverage
Mr Joe Wong
Information Services Department
Dear Mr Wong,
We are writing to express our concern on the press accreditation for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to China.
According to accreditation form sent to us by our members, journalists have to provide personal details including their HKID number. They are also required to consent to the transfer of their personal data to the police.
This arrangement deviates from the long-held press accreditation practise of the government in which the police is rarely involved. A good comparison will be the One Belt One Road forum attended by Mr Zhang Dejiang, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Journalists were required to submit their personal data for accreditation and to bring along their identity card for entrance. There was no suggestion of police involvement in this process. Neither did the journalists have to consent to the passing of their personal information to the police.
There is no justification in changing the accreditation practice that has served every party well over the years. The personal data provided should be sufficient in identity verification while the meticulous security check and bag search at the door step of the venue would keep the event free from any hazard.
We are also disappointed that the digital-only media and their journalists are denied entry to this significant event. This is despite earlier appeals from both the Ombudsman and the High Court.
Both institutions have asked the government to be flexible in the accreditation of digital-only media before a review on the policy is completed. However, none of them has received any invitation to register for the event so far.
Both issues should be rectified as soon as possible. The police should not be involved in the accreditation of journalists. No journalist should be forced to consent to the transfer of their personal data to the police in order to get entry to the event. Journalists from digital-only media holding the association’s membership cards should be accredited and allowed entry to celebration events. That has always been the policy under the Police General Orders.
We look forward to your prompt reply.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
14 June 2017