Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

‘Stop police violence, defend press freedom’: Hong Kong reporters stage rare protest over police treatment

Hundreds of journalists and their supporters marched to police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s office on Sunday, urging the authorities to respect press freedom.

“During the recent series of protests, journalists were unjustifiably dispersed, pushed away, verbally insulted, or even beaten by batons, [and] shot by bean bag rounds by police officers [on] a number of occasions,” a statement from the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said.

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The rally began at 10.30am in Harcourt Garden, Admiralty. Media staffers, mostly clad in black, marched silently to the Wan Chai police base with a giant banner reader “Stop police violence, defend press freedom.”

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“We are running out of tolerance and patience,” HKJA chair Chris Yeung told HKFP. “We are speaking up and voicing our concerns and, in fact, anger over the police handling of journalists reporting [on] protests over the past few weeks.”

He said the HKJA had received scores of complaints of verbal abuse and physical interactions between police and reporters. “Apparently they targetted journalists when firing tear gas… totally unacceptable,” he added.

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Protesters urged Lam to honour the Pledge to Uphold Press Freedom she signed during the 2017 chief executive election.

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

However, when the group arrived at her office, no representative attended to receive their letter.

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“We hope the Chief Executive and top police management will give clear and firm response, not to ignore our clear and simple demands,” the statement said.

july 14 press freedom china police extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Organisers included the HKJA, the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, the Independent Commentators Association, Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, the Ming Pao Staff Association, Next Media Trade Union and RTHK Programme Staff Union. HKFP staff also marched with the rally.

'Stop police violence, defend press freedom': Hong Kong reporters stage rare protest over police treatment