采访/易如 编辑/李谦 后制/李智远
Occupy Central Again Raises Freedom of the Press Issues in Hong Kong
Three weeks have passed since the Occupy Central
movement seeking universal suffrage began in Hong Kong.
The HK government has harshly suppressed the movement,
with police and so-called, “anti-Occupy Central activists”
using violence against protesters.
In such a situation, whether HK media can report
the movement in a fair and balanced manner becomes
a litmus test for freedom of the press in the city.
Let’s look at the report below.
Not long ago, HK Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB)
was criticized for self-censorship yielding to the CCP
when introducing footage of a violent attack by several
police officers on an Occupy Central protester.
The incident has become the focus of public attention.
On the morning of Oct. 15, HK police attempted to clear
Occupy Central areas around Admiralty and Tamar Park.
During which, a group of police officers forcibly took
a protester to a dark corner, then beat and kicked him
for several minutes.
The scene was videotaped by a journalist on the spot.
TVB broadcast the footage in its morning news,
saying “A protester’s two hands were tied and brought away
by six police officers.
They lifted him up to a dark corner of Tamar Park.
Then they put him down to the ground and began to beat
and kick the protester.”
However, this introductory narration was deleted
in following TVB news broadcasts.
At noon, TVB added one sentence back to the report,
saying, “Police officers are suspected of using violence
against the protester.”
On Oct. 16, an audio recording was uploaded to the Internet.
A male TVB staff, suspected to be the chief-editor of TVB
news department Yuen Chi-wai, can be heard saying it was
a very serious incident and they must be more careful
as involved police officers can be sentenced to life in prison.
The male criticized the “dark corner” and “beat and kicked”
as irrelevant, saying the journalist wrote the report
according to the footage only, and had not inquired
with those police officers for verification.
The audio recording induced tremendous public response.
Hu Liyun, HK representative of International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ):“The journalist clearly saw that
a protester was brought to a dark area by several police
officers, and was violently treated there.”
IFJ HK and China region representative Hu Liyun told NTD
that a TVB journalist witnessed the incident.
Regarding what the male TVB staff said in the audio record,
Hu said, did he mean the journalist should ask those
police officers how many times they had kicked the protester?
That was completely nonsense.
Hu Liyun: “This is a very, very good example to let more
know about some bosses of HK media.
When I say bosses I mean the management.
This shows how they handle reports that may make
‘some people’ unhappy.”
TVB management’s distortion of the report has drawn public
wrath, as well as resistance from its own employees.
On Oct. 15, 46 TVB anchors and journalists
released a public letter.
The letter stated that TVB management had improperly
reported the violence footage, and called on the entire
HK society to value freedom of the press that they still have.
They called for support of journalists towards independent
reports and criticized interview obstructions.
HK Journalist Association also jointly declared support
for TVB journalists along with six media labor unions.
They called on media management to respect journalists
and their professional judgments, and protect freedom
of press as a core value of Hong Kong.
Zhang Chengjue, HK freelancer: “The global trend
is seeking democracy and freedom.
I don’t think we should be pessimistic in the long-term view.
But in a short-term view, I won’t say I am optimistic.
I think there is a lot to worry about for the short-term.”
On Oct. 18, HK Digital Broadcasting Corporation (DBC)
reported the resignation of Chan King-cheung,
the deputy publisher of HK leading financial daily
Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ).
He left because “he didn’t want to stay anymore.”
This September, founder of HKEJ Lam Hang-chi sold
all equities held to the journal as a complete withdrawal
from the discredited media.
In the 2014 World Press Freedom Index 2014 released
by Reporters Without Borders, Hong Kong’s ranking
dropped from 58 to 61.
The 63rd ranking dropped from 43 to 18 between 2002 and 2014.
This is a clear indication of how freedom of the press
has worsened in the city.
Interview/YiRu Edit/LiQian Post-Production/Li Zhiyuan