Executive councillor Ronny Tong on Tuesday hit out at international media, accusing them of jumping to conclusions that the arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai was politically driven.
The Apple Daily founder was arrested on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces under the national security law, and conspiracy to defraud.
Tong told an RTHK radio programme that anyone who violates the law would be treated the same, even if they are media bosses.
"I would have thought that the job of the media is to find out the truth, and to report facts, and not to jump to political considerations for the purpose of discrediting somebody whose political standpoint is different from yours," he said.
The barrister said crimes under the national security law have a high threshold of proof, and law enforcement officers cannot take action unless they have sufficient evidence.
He told RTHK's Damon Pang it would be an insult to law enforcement for people to say the arrest was based on trumped-up charges.
Tong also defended comments from Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Foreign Ministry's Commissioner here, after they called Lai "a representative of anti-China factions who had colluded with foreign forces and harmed national security", saying they should be severely punished.
"They're merely stating their opinion, like everyone else in Hong Kong. Ordinary people cannot be compared to professional journalists," Tong said, insisting the legal system is robust and independent enough to stand up to comments in cases that may be seen as political.
But Tong then appeared to contradict himself when he also said as the judicial proceedings have begun, people should take note and refrain from discussing the details of the case, such as the prosecution's chances of success.