Press accreditation by media associations will no longer be enough. The policy targets young freelance reporters who cover anti-government protests. Eight media unions demand the withdrawal of the new policy and accuse the police of using violence against their members.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong police will only recognise press accreditations for journalists who work for government-registered outlets and “internationally known” foreign media.
The Police Public Relations Branch said that the police would no longer recognise journalists accredited with press associations such as the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and so would not allow them into restricted areas for security reasons.
This would stop, the police press office claims, “fake journalists” from obstructing police work. It would also restrict the work of freelance journalists and student media who have been covering pro-democracy protests over the past year.
In a joint statement, eight Hong Kong media unions – including the HKJA – slammed the new policy, demanding that it be scrapped. If not, they would respond with “necessary measures.”
Journalists' associations have long accused police of preventing the media from doing their job and of using excessive force against their members.
Hong Kong Police Chief Chris Tang admitted in fact that the press had experienced “undesirable treatment” during a demonstration in May.
The crackdown against local media has increased after China’s new security law for Hong Kong came into effect.
The most notable case involves Jimmy Lai, owner of Apple Daily, who was arrested in August under Hong Kong’s new draconian legislation and later released on bail.