Three journalists who covered the 2019 protests barred from entering Hong Kong over the last months
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the Hong Kong government’s barring of three freelance journalists who covered the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations from entering the territory in separate occasions over the last few months.
Over the last few months, Japanese journalists Michiko Kiseki and Yoshiaki Ogawa, and American journalist Matthew Connors, who all three documented the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, have been barred from entering the territory on several occasions. Upon their arrival, they were questioned about their past reporting, and some of them were briefly detained, before being denied entry without further explanation.
“Denial of entry is a method routinely used by the Chinese regime to punish foreign reporters seen as too critical. It is now spreading to Hong Kong amidst other violations of the right to information. We urge democracies to build up pressure on the Hong Kong government and demand the restoration of full press freedom as enshrined in the territory’s Basic Law.
Michiko Kiseki, a Japanese award-winning freelance photojournalist, who was partially raised in Hong Kong, was detained overnight, interrogated by police, and barred from entering the territory on 30 December 2022. Yoshiaki Ogawa, a Japanese freelance journalist, was denied entry, detained overnight, interrogated by police, and sent back to Japan on 29 June 2023. For its part, Matthew Connors, an independent photojournalist from the USA, was denied entry to Hong Kong on 16 August 2023. He was previously turned away by immigration once before in January 2020.
Over the past three years, in line with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s crusade against journalism, the Hong Kong government has prosecuted at least 28 media workers and press freedom defenders, 12 of whom remain in detention. The government also forcibly shut down independent daily newspapers Apple Daily in June 2021 and Stand News six months later, while six other media outlets had no other choice but to disband due to pressure.
Hong Kong ranks 140th out of 180 in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, having plummeted down from 18th place in the span of two decades. China itself ranks 179th out of 180 countries and territories evaluated.