On December 4, reporters from Stand News and Apple Daily were denied access to an event organised to celebrate China’s “Constitution Day”, which was attended by Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the director of China’s liaison office in Hong Kong, Wang Zhimin. Although the event was supported by the authorities, the organiser said that only invited media were granted entry.
“By taking part in an event that is not open to all media, Chief Executive Carrie Lam condones a practice that disregards press freedom,” said Cedric Alviani, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau. In her response to an RSF Open Letter last summer, Carrie Lam had yet assured that the respect of press freedom was ‘vital’ for the future of Hong Kong.
In October, RSF and a coalition of NGOs and media groups already expressed their concern over the possible selection of journalists through the establishment of a centralised system of identification. Since the beginning of the Hong Kong protests in June, freedom of the press has deteriorated with a growing number of attacks against reporters (see chronology).
In the RSF World Press Freedom Index, China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong has plummeted from 18th in 2002 to 73rd this year. China itself is ranked 177th out of 180 countries and territories monitored.