Police Commissioner Raymond Siu warned media organisations on Saturday that they won't be exempted from criminal liability, even if they publish disclaimers saying they don’t intend to incite hatred or discontent with the government.
At least one Chinese-language newspaper has included disclaimers in its commentaries, following the arrests of journalists on sedition charges.
Asked about the arrests and the subsequent closure of several media organisations, the police chief stressed that press freedom is protected by the Basic Law, but when journalists provide accurate information and report the news sincerely.
Speaking on a radio show, Siu said the police only targeted criminals – and did not single out any industry or organisation.
“I think these disclaimers are quite meaningless. Because if you really have broken the law, you can’t hypnotise yourself into thinking that you haven’t done it. Making such disclaimers is useless,” he said.
During the programme, the police chief again defended his decision to attend a party just as the fifth wave of Covid infections was gathering momentum.
Some senior officials were quarantined after the Covid infections of some attendees of the birthday party organised by Witman Hung, a local delegate to the National People's Congress.
Siu explained earlier that Hung had a long working relationship with the police on road safety issues.
He stressed on Saturday that he was not socialising, but strengthening communication with citizens when he attended the party.