Asian Journalists Association issues statement: Hong Kong authorities should respect the role and rights of the press

Protesters hold signs supporting Hong Kong Stand News in Taipei, Taiwan, on December 30, 2021.

Protesters hold signs supporting Hong Kong Stand News in Taipei, Taiwan, on December 30, 2021 (AP/Yonhap News)

SEOUL: The Asia Journalists Association has issued the following statement:

  1. The Asia Journalists Association (AJA) urges the authorities in Hong Kong to recognise and respect the legitimate roles and right of bona fide journalists in the wake of a crackdown under the new national security law.
  2. Give editors, reporters and cartoonists their necessary space to practise their profession without undue fear or oppression. This is key for keeping people informed and society functioning.
  3. Unfortunately, the continuing crackdown on the Press involving the arrest and detention of Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai and directors and editorial personnel of Stand News on charges of collusion with foreign powers and sedition, has cast a pall over the media scene.
  4. The shutdown on the two news outlets also led to retrenchment of media workers.
  5. Journalists are crying aloud about their loss of freedom to report truthfully and honestly for the benefit of society. Instead, they are compelled to engage in self-censorship in order not to breach the ambiguous security laws.
  6. We note that the Hong Kong Journalists Association had expressed its concerns that the “Police have repeatedly arrested senior members of the media and searched the offices of news organisation containing large quantities of journalistic material within a year.”
  7. AJA urge the authorities to cease its purge of media practitioners on security grounds and engage in dialogue with the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) to resolve the legitimate concerns of bona fide media practitioners on their rights and roles under the national security law.
  8. We share with HKJA that the media crisis triggered by the authorities has put the future of a dynamic and effective Press in the balance.
  9. We urge the administration of Carrie Lam to take into account the call of the international community to respect the universal values of a free and responsible Press.

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