A day after playing down the impact of government's decision not to renew the visa of Financial Times correspondent, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has expressed concern over the event, and warned that this could affect Hong Kong's status as a financial and trading centre.
In a statement on Monday, AmCham said the case has caught the international business community’s attention as Hong Kong has long been an open environment for journalists and editors.
Many international media outlets housed their Asia headquarters in the city thanks to its rule of law, connectivity, and freedom of speech, it said.
The statement went on to say that the SAR administration cannot simply brush off incidents by calling them individual or isolated events every time they happen.
“Transparency is one of AmCham’s core values, and Hong Kong ought to make it clear to the international business community that free speech and free flow of information in this world city is still sound enough for business to consider Hong Kong as an important hub”, the statement said.
“The rejection of a renewal of work visa for FT correspondent Victor Mallet sends a worrying signal. Without a free press, capital markets cannot properly function, and business and trade cannot be reliably conducted,” AmCham president Tara Joseph added.
On Sunday, Joseph was quoted as playing down the incident and saying businesses were more concerned about ensuring a level playing field for firms in the city.
This had raised a few eyebrows in the media circles as she was previously the president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and a journalist with Reuters for 15 years.
FT visa row will hit Hong Kong's status: AmCham
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