FCC Statement on Media Access
|The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong (FCC) is concerned that several media outlets were barred by the Hong Kong government from covering a National Security Education Day event on Saturday 15 April, 2023.
|Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), a government-registered media outlet, reports that it was rejected from attending a ceremony at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, along with several other outlets and a wire service.
|This follows last year’s decision by the government to bar some local and international media, including Hong Kong Free Press, from attending the swearing-in ceremony of Mr John Lee Ka-chiu as the Chief Executive of the HKSAR.
|Media outlets being barred from covering public events raises concerns over the future of press freedom in Hong Kong, which is guaranteed under Article 27 of the Basic Law.
|The FCC also notes that the event in April was held with the aim of enhancing the public’s understanding of the importance of national security to Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. The barring of certain registered media outlets is further perplexing given the stated objectives of the events of that day, as well as the guarantee of freedom of the press under Article 4 of the National Security Law (NSL).
|The FCC has contacted the Hong Kong Information Services Department (ISD) to ask them to explain why journalists are being denied access to certain events featuring high-ranking government officials. To facilitate dialogue, the FCC has requested a meeting with the ISD to discuss media access to future government-sponsored events.
|The FCC welcomes the Ombudsman’s decision on 2 May 2023 to investigate HKFP’s complaint against the ISD and urges that a full report be published outlining the Ombudsman’s findings.