Philippine President Aquino agrees with ban of 'aggressive' journalists

Journalists want apology as Philippine president says he would expel 'aggressive' media too

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 4:44am

Philippine President Benigno Aquino found Apec host Indonesia's treatment of Hong Kong journalists who shouted questions at him "appropriate", saying he would have done the same in a similar situation.

But the Hong Kong Journalists Association was unimpressed, reiterating that it was completely unacceptable for the Apec summit organisers to bar the journalists just because they questioned Aquino. A group of journalists held a protest outside the Indonesian and Philippine consulates yesterday, holding banners saying "We throw questions, not bombs" and "We are journalists, not terrorists" and demanding an apology.

Four Hong Kong reporters who were sent to cover Aquino's attendance at a commercially organised Apec CEO summit in Bali on Sunday had their media passes revoked. They were accused of "screaming" questions at the president about the Manila hostage siege, which left eight Hongkongers dead three years ago.

Aquino told press in Bali that he agreed with the expulsion of the "very aggressive" journalists.

"Anywhere we go, we are expected to conform to certain norms of behaviour," he said, adding he would have done the same if the Apec summit had taken place in the Philippines.

Association vice-chairwoman Shirley Yam Mei-ching said it was ridiculous for the summit to think the journalists were a security concern.

Yam was also very disappointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who yesterday in Bali said he was sorry for the administration's failed attempt to get the media badges back.

"We expect more from the chief executive. At least he should share our feelings and echo that the treatment [by Bali] is unreasonable," she said.

RTHK's staff union said their reporter - whose media pass was revoked - was followed in Bali by non-uniformed security staff.

The Apec CEO summit said it had to take appropriate action to protect the integrity of the summit as the journalists "had created a disturbance and ignored requests to relocate".