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.