Hong Kong: Rthk censored again

In the coverage of anti-government demonstrations, the city's public television is accused of bias towards the police. Warnings also for Commercial Radio and TVB. Journalists and schools of journalism are calling for the withdrawal of the new guidelines from law enforcement agencies.

 Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Communications Authority has issued a warning to the public television RTHK, reproaching it for being "biased" against the police. In its accusation, the supervisory body refers to four episodes of the "Pentaprism" program, which aired between September and November last year, in the midst of anti-government protests.

The Authority maintains that RTK only gave space to voices critical of police during the demonstrations, without any opportunity for rebuttal. The incriminated interventions involved the police raiding the Prince Edward subway station on August 31, and an officer’s wounding a demonstrator in Sai Wan Ho on November 11. The programmes editorial board defended its work by explaining that the security authorities had set out their reasons in several press releases.

This is not the first time RTK has been attacked by city officials for its coverage of clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators. For the same reason, Commercial Radio and TVB, which are private, have also been targeted by the executive.

Media censorship in the former British colony has increased with the adoption of the new security law wanted by Beijing. Yesterday, the police announced that they will only recognize press accreditations for journalists who work for publications registered with the Communications Authority or for "internationally recognized foreign media". Reporters who present credentials issued by journalists' associations will no longer be able to participate in the press conferences of the law enforcement agencies; they will no longer have access to restricted areas either for security reasons.

Eight trade unions, including the Hong Kong Journalist Association, are calling for the withdrawal of new guidelines established by the police. Journalist associations have long accused the law enforcement agencies of preventing the media from doing their job and of using excessive force against them. According to seven schools of journalism, restrictions on press accreditation are a threat to traditional city freedoms.