The FCC Calls on Government to Maintain Public Access to Companies Registry Data
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, urges the government to reconsider the proposed changes to the Companies Ordinance that will remove from public access certain identifying details of company directors. The FCC believes such changes will be harmful to press freedom and transparency in the city.
The companies registry is an important tool long used by journalists to improve accountability, expose wrongdoing, and bring to light important matters of public concern. Financial, legal and compliance professionals also make extensive use of the companies registry in the course of ordinary business. Restricting access to the residential addresses and Hong Kong ID card numbers of company directors, as proposed by the government, will greatly diminish the utility of the companies registry and impede the work of a wide range of professionals working in Hong Kong’s public interest.
While the FCC shares the government’s concern about “doxxing”—of which journalists are frequent targets—the club does not believe that the proposed changes will have a meaningful impact on the practice. The FCC welcomes the opportunity to share additional input on the proposal.