• Sat
  • Nov 1, 2014
  • Updated: 12:19am
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Hong Kong journalists take to streets for press freedom

Journalists' union says 6,000 joined rally to urge chief executive to protect their independence

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 February, 2014, 11:00am

Watch: Protestors march for press freedom in Hong Kong

Leaving behind their pens and voice recorders, journalists switched roles yesterday to march in defence of press freedom.

The "Free Speech, Free Hong Kong" protest was organised by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, which said 6,000 took part. Police put the figure at 1,600.

"Such a big number of people illustrates that the public has started to feel that press freedom is at risk," association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan said.

The association claims recent events threaten freedom of the press and speech in the city.

It says these include the dismissal of Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling, an outspoken critic of the government; claims by Chinese-language newspapers Apple Daily and AM730 that mainland-backed firms and banks had pulled advertisements because of their editorial stances; and Ming Pao management's decision to assign a Malaysian to take up a senior post as principal executive editor at the paper.

Nick Kwok Hing-fai, a photojournalist at Ming Pao who took his two-year-old daughter on the march, said he came because of the next generation. "I'm afraid my daughter will grow up regarding the June 4 incident as only a riot," he said. "If we don't tell the truth now, there will be nothing we can say tomorrow."

Protesters marched from Chater Garden to the Chief Executive's Office in Admiralty, where they rallied to urge Leung Chun-ying to uphold free speech.

Among those marching were former civil service chief Joseph Wong Wing-ping, former legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Foreign Correspondents' Club representatives, and survivors of the Manila hostage shootings and Lamma Island ferry disaster.

"Without freedom of speech, victims like us would have no means to fight for justice," a woman whose son died in the ferry tragedy said on stage.

Emmanuel Cheng, who emigrated to Toronto in 1971, said the situation in his old hometown had greatly deteriorated. "I don't want to see Hong Kong turning into Shenzhen," he said.

Meanwhile, 80 people attended a forum organised by the Council on Media Conduct Supervision - formed by three pro-government groups - to "explore the conduct of Hong Kong media".

Leticia Lee See-yin, convenor of Justice Alliance, denied the forum at the piazza of the government headquarters was organised to counter the main rally.

A government spokesman said it "would not and could not interfere with" editorial freedom and free speech.

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This article is now closed to comments

HKSandyGray
It 's good to see we stand up for press freedoms in HK still
deendayal lulla
Press freedom is always under threat - from the government,the judiciary,and fundamental groups. and also from the owners. There is press freedom ,if you are commenting on movies. But here also,there are restrictions.
Deendayal Lulla
ngsw
The abuse and exploitation of freedom of spreech with every kinds of smearing and fabrication of news fret me, not the shrinking of press freedom that I don’t feel. See how a popular newspaper’s credibility nosedived from somewhere above 10 to 17? HKers have waked up and come to sense. We need to protect the freedom of speech from being manipulaed by someone for their own interest.
whymak
ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
The vested interest of the Fourth Estate is to maintain the monopolistic status quo in manufactured consent. Educated consumers, as well as respectable journalists, must now distance themselves from yellow journalists' claim about Hong Kong's violation of press freedom.
What is freedom? It's a state of mind. Most HKers feel free as long as they can bring home the bacon even though they can't criticize their boss. Living in the real world, except for sociopaths, most people realize abrasive behavior is not the way to get things done.
However, Alpais Lam, Li Wei Ling and other 40 something never feel free despite their unlimited latitude to lie about the government and fellow citizens even to the point of constantly hurling falsehoods and obscenities at anyone who disagrees with them.
John Milton puts it best about this human condition: "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
scmpgt
Sometimes I feel HK should just have all fake news. And then let the government, tycoons exploit its population until they realise the importance of press freedom.
keithkklau@gmail.com
I don't think Hong Kong has any press freedom or speech freedom at this moment. As long as we voice out any opinion different from the pan-democrat, it will be labelled as "anti-democracy", "pro-china", "pro-CY" irrespective of the content and logic and you will be pressed to keep your mouth shut and keep silent.
kim.chen.16568
well. you got the point.
then someone will accuse you as 50 cents soon. oh, i will be accused, too
Dai Muff
Well, just try voicing ONE SINGLE view that isn't covered by those terms. If you can. My bet is you cannot.
dharmakarma
How about accountability and checks and balance, go have a BBQ...
pslhk
They marched not for press freedom
but for their employment
protection for anachronism, naivety
and indulgence in casuistries
-
Press freedom is for press employees and employers
Press employers and employees have equal rights to dismiss each other
Freedom of expression is widely available free in the internet
As the catchphrase goes “EVERYONE’S A JOURNALIST”
Journalists can always spill more than their hearts could hold
but they have no right to a corning ware rice bowl
insisting that readers must pay for their “gem” or rubbish
-
Dismissed press employees who claim to enjoy mass support
should see if such hocus pocus might be as good as five loaves and three fish

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