'CE has failed to give assurances on journalist ban' - RTHK
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'CE has failed to give assurances on journalist ban'

2020-03-31 HKT 12:42
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  • Chris Yeung says the CE must clarify whether it is the SAR government or Beijing that has the power to issue work visas for foreign journalists in Hong Kong. File photo: RTHK
    Chris Yeung says the CE must clarify whether it is the SAR government or Beijing that has the power to issue work visas for foreign journalists in Hong Kong. File photo: RTHK
The chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Chris Yeung, has reiterated his call for the SAR government to clarify whether it has any say when it comes to visas for foreign reporters, after the Chief Executive said on Tuesday that she "can't predict" which individuals will be allowed to work here.

Lam's comment came in response to a question on whether the authorities will bar journalists from three US outlets from working in the territory, after Beijing expelled the reporters from the mainland and announced they were also banned from Hong Kong and Macau.

The CE said the SAR government looks at each application for entry on an individual basis and in accordance with the law and immigration policy. She added that when somebody files an application to enter Hong Kong, he or she will know whether or not it is approved.

Yeung said Lam's response was disappointing and doesn't clear up the concerns of the media community.

"I think she has again failed to answer clearly the very definitive and legitimate questions raised following the statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. That [foreign ministry] decision runs directly against the power of the immigration authorities and the Hong Kong government in handling work visa applications," Yeung said.

"She really needs to reaffirm clearly and affirmatively that this power belongs to the Hong Kong government, but she has failed to do so."

Beijing's decision to throw out around a dozen journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post this month was widely seen as a retaliatory move, after the US restricted the number of Chinese staff mainland state media can employ in America.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Correspondents' Club also called for "unequivocal assurances that the Hong Kong Immigration Department remains an independent body" that will assess each working visa application on its merits.