Hong Kong reporters have slammed a pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) press colleague after she asked about complaint procedures following a medical accident involving mainland Chinese personnel.
The NowTV reporter asked how the public can complain about medical malpractice by mainland Chinese healthcare workers during a press conference on March 16prompting the pro-CCP newspaper Ta Kung Pao to denounce her as “spreading hatred,” claiming “public outrage” at her question.
“The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) deeply regrets this criticism of journalists who are just doing their job and expresses concern over the phenomenon,” the HKJA said in a statement posted on its website. Thursday.
He linked the incident to an increasingly harsh climate for press freedom after the CCP imposed a draconian national security law from July, 1st2020 banning public criticism of the government.
“In the post-national security era, Hong Kong’s media is in crisis, even when it comes to questioning officials,” the organization said. “The HKJA would like to remind all sectors of the community not to… speculate on the motivations or political positions of journalists without evidence.”
He said the purpose of reporters’ questions is to allow officials to better explain their policies to the public, and noted that the Hospital Authority addressed the issue not once but twice in their responses.
“[Their] the answers were clear and direct, affirming the value of the question,” he said. “The ability of journalists to ask questions about issues of social interest without fear is an important basis on which the media plays the role of the fourth estate.
He said NowTV’s apology had muddyed the waters and “regretted” that it had been released.
NowTV’s statement said the station was “deeply sorry” for any upset caused by its reporter’s question, which was also asked by members of the city’s Legislative Council on the same day.
“We are very grateful for the selfless support from the central government…as the pandemic enters its fifth wave,” he said. “We will continue to humbly accept public scrutiny and criticism.”
The opposite of journalism
HKJA president Ronson Chan said NowTV’s apology complicated things.
“Hong Kong has changed,” he said. “It’s not what it used to be anymore.”
“I can’t speculate whether the broadcaster was under enormous pressure to make this statement…or whether they sincerely thought they were supporting mainland China’s medical assistance and truly believed their reporter had behaved. inappropriately.”
“If the latter is true, it’s the opposite of what we think journalism should be,” Chan said.
NowTV’s apology came days after Hong Kong’s national security police threatened Hong Kong Watch, a London-based rights group, with legal action for calling for sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials. and attempted to order him to take down his website.
Police said in a letter to Benedict Rogers that he should “immediately cease engaging in any act and activity contrary to the National Security Law or any other law of Hong Kong.”
The group has been highly critical of the CCP’s human rights record in Hong Kong, particularly following a citywide crackdown on pro-democracy activists, opposition politicians and journalists in Hong Kong. under national security law.
In January 2022security chief Chris Tang said the law would crack down on media deemed to have played an “inflammatory” role, citing the now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, which is now under investigation under the national security law, with several of its best journalists and its founder Jimmy Lai awaiting trial for “collusion with a foreign power”.
Tang said the newspaper’s closure had made Hong Kong “more democratic”, accusing him of fomenting a “color revolution” during the 2019 protest movement, which began as a mass popular demonstration against the plans. extradition to mainland China, and broadened into demands for fully democratic elections and greater official accountability.
Tang and other officials said the protests meant “targeted measures” were now needed to tackle “fake news”.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.