China: Hong Kong media association accused of political biasEvent
- Initial Date
- Sep 15, 2021
- Event Description
Hong Kong’s national security chief recently accused the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of having political preferences and receiving foreign funding. The IFJ expresses grave concern over the official’s remarks and urges the Hong Kong authorities to respect HKJA members’ freedom of association.
Speaking with reporters on September 15, Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung accused the HKJA of having biased political views and thus favouring pro-democracy news organisations such as Apple Daily and Stand News. He also claimed that the HKJA may have received funds provided by foreign political groups, without providing evidence.
Tang urged the HKJA to disclose its membership list and financial status in order to “prove its innocence” and “assuage public concerns.”
In response, HKJA Chairman Ronson Chan saidthe HKJA does not receive funding from overseas groups and has submitted its financial statements annually to the Labour Department, which oversees trade unions, according to Hong Kong’s law.
The group also said it cannot disclose the personal data of its members without their consent. “Any suggestion to make our membership and their employers public in order to ‘assuage doubts’ would appear to incite a breach of the Ordinance,” the HKJA said in a statement, referring to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
In addition, during an interview with local newspaper Ta Kung Pao on September 14, Tang stated that the HKJA is “relying on a large number of student members.” He said the group’s executive committee has been controlled by members of specific media outlets over the years. The situation “makes people question the representativeness of the HKJA” as a journalist trade union, Tang said.
The HKJA said there is no truth to Tang’s comments; as of September 15, the HKJA has 486 members, 56 of whom are students majoring in journalism. This number translates to approximately 11 per cent. A list of HKJA executive committee members is also available on the HKJA website, it added.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Administrative Harassment
- Intimidation and Threats
- Rights Concerned
- Media freedom
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to protect reputation
- Right to work
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 15 September 2021, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), media worker association, was accused by Secretary for Security to support pro-democracy group and accused to receive foreign funds in a climate of broader repression of critic voices in Hong Kong, China.