'Govt must assure media that regular reports are ok' - RTHK
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'Govt must assure media that regular reports are ok'

2020-07-07 HKT 14:42
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  • 'Govt must assure media that regular reports are ok'
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has urged the government to give a "concrete assurance" that reporters won’t get prosecuted under the national security law over stories they have been regularly reporting till now.

HKJA chairman Chris Yeung said that in the past week, he has been asked by some reporters whether it’s appropriate to work on stories that they used to be confident in publishing, such as interviews with the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, and alleged malpractices or unlawful behaviour by senior police officers.

"I honestly do not have the answer, I think the present situation is now that you’re ok until you’re not ok, when they think you’re not ok then you’ll be in trouble," he said at a media briefing held to release a HKJA report on freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

"We want a concrete assurance, for instance, that what we have done before, what we publish, people we have talked to before, we will still be able to do so without the risk of say being prosecuted under the new law," the association president said.

He said that the national security law has had a chilling effect on local media, with reporters self-censoring over fears they might be breaching the law.

Yeung also expressed concerns communications and contacts of reporters could be tapped under new sweeping powers the new law has given to the police to regulate online messages.

He said he feels the SAR’s press freedoms have dropped to its worst in his 30-odd years in the industry.

His comments come after Chief Executive Carrie Lam was asked at her weekly press briefing on Tuesday morning about how the new restrictions may affect journalists working in the city, and concerns expressed by the Foreign Correspondents Club over the law.

Lam said that if the FCC and all reporters in Hong Kong could give her "a 100 percent guarantee" that they will not commit any offences under the new law, then she can do the same.