A war of words between the Security Secretary Chris Tang and Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) continued on Wednesday as the minister suggested that the group clear its name by making public more information about its members and sources of funds.
The minister earlier said the HKJA was biased and had infiltrated schools to spread political views, but the association has dismissed the claims.
Asked if it was appropriate for him to make these comments, Tang on Wednesday said he was simply reflecting public concerns.
"I think I am not making any allegations. I just cast doubt, which is not just from me. I think it's from a large number (of people) of the community. They have the same doubt about the association. That's the reason why I raised it," he said.
Tang said the group could clear its name by disclosing which media organisations its members work for, whether the association visited any schools in the past few years, and whether it received money from foreign politicians and political groups.
He denied putting pressure on the HKJA, saying he was only offering suggestions to the group.
In response, the HKJA said it had 486 members but did not not reveal their media affiliations, citing privacy.
In a statement, the association questioned whether Tang was encouraging it to violate the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance by disclosing the personal information of its members.
HKJA chairman Ronson Chan also said while some of its committee members have given talks at schools in the past to share their experience as journalists, he didn't believe they should be regarded as "infiltration" as suggested by the security chief.