The police on Monday blocked a group of journalists, including those from international media, from getting close to the scene of action as they conducted a raid at the Apple Daily headquarters in Tseung Kwan O.
RTHK staff were also briefly prevented from getting close to the building as reporters were confined to an area farther away from the building.
They were cordoned off by the force, and barred from joining other reporters from interviewing Steve Li of the police's national security department.
The journalists who were pushed back included those from the Associated Press, AFP, RTHK and local web-based media like Stand News.
A female officer from the police media relations unit said only media organisations who had not obstructed or harmed the force in the past were allowed to cover a briefing that Steve Li, a senior superintendent of the police’s national security department, was giving at the premises.
“We are picking some local media, reputation...I mean that are bigger in scale. And that they had not obstructed or posed a safety threat to officers in police operations in the past,” she said.
The media relations officer also said space was limited to accommodate everyone.
After RTHK reported the news about the ban and held further discussions with officers, its crew was allowed into the premises to cover Li’s briefing.
In a statement on the police move, the broadcaster said it has always reported the truth in a professional manner and called on the force not to restrict press coverage unreasonably and unnecessarily.
Eight media groups expressed strong opposition to the police screening of the press, saying it seriously trampled on press freedom.
In a statement, the force said it had only arranged some local press to go inside a cordoned area for reporting to enhance the police operation and its transparency.