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Essential tips for Hong Kong journalists reporting suicide and mental health issues

The media’s role and its responsibilities in reporting suicide and mental health issues were outlined in a workshop for journalists, part of an FCC series focused on the Hong Kong protests.

Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention at HKU, gives reporting tips to journalists. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention at HKU, gives reporting tips to journalists. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

Following rumours and speculation about a number of suicides that were directly linked by some Hong Kong media to the ongoing protests in the city–and giving details of how they were carried out–Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong, issued advice to journalists covering the topic at a breakfast briefing on August 27.

Prof Yip encouraged media professionals to provide more information around suicide prevention to help raise awareness of the support available to those experiencing mental health issues. He also advised journalists covering the Hong Kong protests to take rest for the sake of their own physical and mental health.

An audience member and representative of the Hong Kong Samaritans revealed that the nature of calls to the organisation’s hotline had recently changed, with many callers worried about the protests.

You can download the Centre of Suicide Research and Prevention’s recommendations on suicide and mental health reporting here.

The Hong Kong Samaritans website can be found here, and the 24/7 hotline number is 2896 0000.

Watch the breakfast briefing

FCC expresses ‘grave concern’ over attack on journalist at Hong Kong Airport protest

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club expresses grave concern over the attack by protesters on a journalist at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

A reporter from Global Times was assaulted and detained by people protesting at the airport who tied his hands with plastic straps.  

We call on protesters to respect the right under Hong Kong law of journalists, regardless of nationality or news organisation, to cover events free from intimidation or violence.

The FCC has become alarmed by the growing number of reports of violence toward journalists by protesters, including attacks last week on vehicles belonging to TV station TVB.

Attacks on members of the media doing their job are unacceptable, regardless of the allegiance or views of the perpetrators.

We have called on the Hong Kong Police Force to respect the freedom of the press and the right of journalists to cover events, including protests and other police operations, unfettered and free of violence and threats.

Those who have concerns with a news organisation’s coverage can express their views on social media, in comments sections and other forums, but under no circumstances should they harass frontline journalists and block them from doing their job.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club stands with the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Photojournalist Association and with freelance and unaffiliated journalists in condemning acts of violence directed at the media and in demanding protesters, the Hong Kong government and the police all respect Hong Kong’s long tradition of press freedom.

The FCC’s open letter to the Hong Kong police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai Chung can be found here.

香港外國記者會對於2019 年8月13日(周二)有傳媒在香港國際機場受到襲擊表示嚴重關注。

《環球時報》的一名記者遭到機場抗議人士的襲擊和拘留,並被他們用膠索帶綁手。

我們呼籲示威者尊重本港法律為所有不同國籍及傳媒機構的記者提供保障,讓他們在進行采訪時免受恐嚇及被暴力對待。

香港外國記者會對愈來愈多有關示威者暴力對待記者的報導感到震驚,包括上周無綫電視台的採訪輛車受到襲擊。

無論犯事者所擁護的觀點如何,在傳媒工作者在履行職責時襲擊他們都是不可接受的。

我們已經呼籲香港警察尊重新聞自由,讓記者能夠在不受阻擋及沒有暴力威脅的情況下采訪示威和警方行動及其他事件。

關注個別新聞機構的報導的人士可以在社交媒體、網上評論區和其他論壇表達他們的觀點,但在任何情况下都不應該騷擾前線記者及阻礙他們工作。

香港外國記者會與香港記者協會、香港攝影記者協會以及自由撰稿人和獨立記者一起譴責針對傳媒的暴力行為,並一致要求示威者、香港政府和警察尊重香港長期以來新聞自由的傳統。

香港外國記者會致警務處處長盧偉聰的公開信可以在此下載:

https://www.fcchk.org/fcc-letter-to-hong-kong-commissioner-of-police-lo-wai-chung-stephen/

Essential tips for journalists on digital security while covering Hong Kong protests

Digital security expert Lokman Tsui gave tips and insights into how journalists can take precautions to protect themselves, their work and their sources’ digital communications while covering politically sensitive events. 

What apps and email providers to use, how to adjust your phone settings to protect hackers and police interference, and what news organisations can do to better protect their reporters were topics that were covered during the August 13 briefing by the Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The event took place the day after the club sent an open letter to Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo outlining concerns over the deterioration in relations between the police and the media covering the Hong Kong protests. 

Watch the video here

FCC letter to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police, Lo Wai Chung, Stephen

Commissioner Lo Wai Chung, Stephen

Commissioner of Police

Police Headquarters

Arsenal Street

Wanchai, HK

Monday, 12 August 2019

 

An open letter to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police, Stephen Lo Wai-chung

Dear Commissioner Lo,

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is greatly concerned about the deterioration in relations between the police and media since the onset of the anti-extradition bill protests in June. We are particularly concerned at the escalation of violence at numerous locations across the city over the weekend of August 10 and 11, 2019.

We appreciate the efforts of the police to improve transparency by holding regular press conferences. However, we feel the most pressing issues concern the actions of some frontline officers and their interaction with the media whilst covering protests. Journalists should not interfere with police work and neither should the police deliberately hinder nor prevent journalists from doing their job. With this in mind, we offer the following concrete suggestions for your consideration.

1.          Police officers should refrain from shining lights directly at news photographers and camera operators.

2.          Officers should assume that those at a protest who are wearing jackets and helmets clearly marked “Press”, “記者 etc. are actually journalists and not imposters. The Hong Kong government does not issue an official press card. As such journalists can only produce cards issued by their employer or affiliated organisation.

3.          Police should exercise much greater restraint in the use of tear gas. The victims of excessive tear gas deployment in residential areas include residents, bystanders and journalists covering the demonstrations as well as the protesters themselves. The firing of tear gas rounds inside Kwai Fong MTR Station on Sunday, August 11, 2019, was particularly egregious and posed a serious health risk.

4.          Police officers should, whenever possible, ensure that their ID is visible and present their warrant card on request if needed. We are aware that many officers are concerned at possible doxing attacks, the publishing of personal contact details, but we would remind them that they are public servants who should be held accountable for their actions.

5.          Liaison officers should be embedded in every tactical unit deployed at each protest site. It is important, moreover, that they have the authority to brief the media on tactical operations and to exercise some measure of control over those operations.

6.          Liaison officers should give journalists advance warning of any police action that might endanger those covering the event so that they can move to a safer location.

7.          If journalists are injured, police should ensure that they are provided with swift and unhindered medical attention.

8.          Police officers should respond promptly to any incident in which members of the public and journalists come under attack from organised gangs, and ensure the perpetrators are arrested.

9.          If journalists have a legitimate complaint against particular officers, the liaison officer should ensure those complaints are investigated in an efficient and transparent manner.

10.      If police officers are found to be negligent in their duty, they should be disciplined, and the results of the investigation made public so that the complainant can be satisfied the case was handled properly.

11.      We acknowledge that everyone is working under extremely stressful conditions, but it is important that frontline police officers remain calm and not overreact to provocation from protesters. When talking to the press, they should make requests in a clear, concise manner and not use insulting and obscene language or make threatening gestures.

We welcome any comments you might have on these suggestions, as well as any thoughts you have on the actions that journalists can take to improve relations with the police. We also encourage you to reach out to other press organisations, such as the Hong Kong Journalists Association, and engage in a meaningful dialogue with them.

We extend once again our open invitation to you and your colleagues to discuss these issues at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club either in a public or a more private setting.

This letter will be made public in the hope that a wider cross-section of media professionals and other stakeholders can engage in this important discussion and offer their own insights.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Jodi Schneider

President, on behalf of the Board of Governors and Press Freedom Committee of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong. 

 

2019812

 

致香港警務處處長盧偉聰的公開信

 

盧局長 台鑒:

 

6月份反引渡法案示威活動開始以來,香港外國記者會一直非常關注警方與媒體關係的惡化。而810-11日在全市多個地方的暴力升級特別令人關注。

雖然警方透過舉行定期新聞發佈會來提高透明度,不過我們認為最緊迫的問題涉及一些前線人員的行爲,以及他們與負責報導抗議活動的媒體之間的互動。記者不應干涉警察工作,同時警察也不應故意妨礙或阻止記者工作。考慮到這點,本會提供以下具體建議予以參考: 

1.     警務人員應避免用强光直接照向新聞攝影師。

2.     警方應該假設那些穿著明顯標有“Press”或“記者”背心和頭盔的人是記者,而不是冒名的頂替者。香港政府沒有發行官方記者證的,所以記者只能提供由其雇主或附屬組織發行的證件。

3.     警方在使用催淚時應該更加克制。在居民住宅釋放過多催淚主要受害者是居民,旁觀者,報導示威活動的記者以及抗議人士。在2019812日晚上在葵芳地鐵站內發射催淚彈的舉動尤其過分及構成嚴重的健康損害

4.     警務人員應盡可能確保其身份證明放在顯眼的地方,並在有需要時出示其委任証明。我們理解很多警員都擔心可能會受到攻擊,或個人私穩被發布,但警務人員作爲公職人員需要對自己的行為負責。

5.     每個示威地點部署的每個戰術單位都應該嵌入聯絡警官。他們需要有權向媒體簡報戰術行動,並確保這些戰術行動採取一定程度的剋制。

6.     聯絡警官應向記者提前預警,讓他們能在可能危及他們的警察行動發生前能夠移到一個較安全的地方。

7.     記者受傷時,警方應確保他們獲得迅速及不受阻礙的醫療照顧。

8.     警察應盡快回應任何公眾和記者受到有組織幫派襲擊的事件,並確保肇事者被捕。

9.     如果記者對任何官員作出合法投訴,警方應確保以有效和透明的方式調查這些投訴。

10.   如果發現警察疏忽職守,他們應該受到紀律處分,公開調查結果,以便投訴人能夠對案件得到妥善處理感到滿意。

11.   本會承認每個人都在極度緊張的條件下工作,但重要的是前線警察要保持冷靜,不要對示威者的挑釁做出過度反應。在與媒體交談時,他們應該以清晰,簡潔的方式提出要求,不要使用侮辱性和淫穢語言或做出威脅性的姿勢。

本會歡迎您就這些建議發表任何意見,以及您對記者為改善與警方關係所採取的行動所持的任何想法。我們也歡迎您與其他新聞機構聯繫,例如香港記者協會,並與他們進行有意義的對話。

本會再次邀請您和同僚與外國記者會公開或在比較私人的場合下討論這些問題。 

此信是公開的因爲本會希望廣泛的傳媒專業人士和其他持份者可以參與這一重要討論,並提供自己的見解。

此致

  

 Jodi Schneider

主席,代表香港外國記者會董事局及新聞自由委員會

Statement from the HKJA and HKPPA

The HKJA and HKPPA issued the following statement condemning attacks on journalists in North Point.

Read the statement

Inside the Hong Kong protests, as told by the reporters and photographers on the ground

The challenges facing journalists and photographers covering the Hong Kong protests were discussed by members of the media who have been on the ground since the demonstrations began in June.

Jennifer Creery, senior reporter for Hong Kong Free Press; Damon Pang, multimedia journalist for Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK); AFP photographer Anthony Wallace, freelance journalist Eric Cheung, and Chris Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, revealed their thoughts on the protests during the August 8 club lunch.

From covering the demonstrations as part of a small team to dodging tear gas, the panel detailed the ups and downs on reporting on the frontline.

Watch the video here.

All you need to know about the legal risks of covering the Hong Kong protests

Valuable advice on how to cover the Hong Kong protests was given to journalists by a leading legal expert at the FCC.

Sharron Fast, Deputy Director of Master of Journalism Programme and lecturer from The Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong, covered a wide range of topics and took questions from the audience – including members and journalists – at the August 6 breakfast briefing. The event was the latest in a series of workshops on covering the Hong Kong protests, now in their tenth week.

What to do if arrested, whether you should hand over your mobile phone, and the legal risks around trespassing were all discussed at the event.

Watch the video here.

HKJA statement on August 5 general strike call

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has issued the following statement regarding the call for a general strike in Hong Kong on Monday, August 5.
 
Read the statement here.

FCC statement expressing grave concern over reports of police violence against journalists in Hong Kong

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club expresses grave concern over multiple eyewitness reports and widely circulating video footage that show police officers engaging in violent acts against journalists during the protest in Kwai Chung on Tuesday night.
 
The reports and video appear to show a photojournalist being shoved to the ground, reporters being chased by police officers swinging batons and police discharging pepper spray toward reporters and photographers with press identification who were observing and photographing events from a safe distance and who appeared not to be interfering with police operations. At least one journalist reportedly needed hospital treatment after being hit with pepper spray.
 
These actions by members of the Hong Kong Police Force are unacceptable and constitute a violation of the right under Hong Kong law for journalists to cover protests free of intimidation or violence by authorities.
 
The repeated and consistent reports of police violence against journalists covering the protests have become too many for the Hong Kong government to ignore. Given this deteriorating situation, the FCC reiterates its demand that the government follow the advice of numerous prominent Hong Kong organizations, along with civic and political leaders, and establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate all forms of violence and intimidation directed at journalists since the start of the protests in June. We urge that such investigations be thorough and transparent.
 
The FCC also calls on the Commissioner of Police to publicly address these worrying reports and to clearly state that the HKPF respects freedom of the press and the right of journalists to cover events, including police operations, unfettered and free of violence and threats.
 
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club stands with the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Photojournalist Association and with freelance and unaffiliated journalists in condemning acts of violence directed at the media and in demanding the Hong Kong government and police respect Hong Kong’s long tradition of press freedom.

Security expert Stevo Stephen briefs journalists on how to stay safe covering protests

More than 100 Hong Kong journalists and Hong Kong Journalists Association members attended a talk on how to cover protests safely following a weekend of demonstrations in the city that saw violence break out, resulting in the injuries of dozens of people, among them reporters.

Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC

In the first of a series of FCC workshops focused on the protests in Hong Kong, security expert Stevo Stephen gave a briefing on the safest and most effective ways of covering demonstrations and street violence.

Stephen, APAC and Africa News Risk Senior Manager for the Wall Street Journal, demonstrated the best equipment to use when covering protests, including protective wear. The former private security expert, who has a background with the British Commandos, shared his knowledge on how journalists can interact with the police and demonstrators, particularly when violence breaks out.

Future FCC workshops will include sessions on the use of technology in covering the protests and the kinds of legal risks media face. With the launch of the workshops, the FCC is furthering its goal of promoting press freedom in Hong Kong by acting as a forum for education and discussion.

Watch the video

 

Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC
Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC

Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC Stevo Stephen at the FCC. Photo: FCC
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