The CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, is set to speak at a technology startup forum in Hong Kong next week. However, the invitation-only event will be held inside the Central Government Offices in Admiralty meaning local digital media are barred from attending.

Musk, who co-founded the electric car company, will take part in a fireside chat with CNN anchor Kristie Lu Stout at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum on January 26. It is hosted by the government’s Invest Hong Kong agency.

The event website did not state where it will be held, but a spokesperson for Invest Hong Kong told HKFP that it will be held at the Central Government Offices at Tamar. Local digital media are currently blocked from attending government events at the Central Government Offices.

The talk of Elon Musk, CEO of electric-car company Tesla Motors, at a technology startup forum will be held inside the Central Government Offices in Admiralty, by invitation only. Photo: Wikimedia Commons and Flickr.

“In selecting an event venue, we take into account factors such as venue availability, capacity and logistics issues and hence the venue will vary from time to time,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that media could visit the event’s website to watch a livecast on the day, if they are not able to access the Central Government Offices.

The annual forum is the main event on the StartmeupHK Festival calendar between January 23 and 30. Events will cover areas such as the consumer Internet of Things, financial technology, health technology and data analytics to “showcase Hong Kong as one of the fastest-growing startup hubs in the world.”

It was held at the Central Government Office in December 2013, but was switched to the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre in November 2014.

Charles Mok. File Photo: Facebook/Charles Mok

‘Outdated policy’

“This is an outdated policy in the digital age and can lead people to believe they are purposely trying to exclude some kind of press members, which I think must change,” Charles Mok, IT sector lawmaker said in an email to HKFP.

“Banning all online media is a backward arrangement and the government should work with online media to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement to facilitate reporters’ work.”

“In January 2014, I have raised LegCo question towards the government’s policy of rejecting online media/journalists from accessing press conferences and events at the Central Government Offices at Tamar. The Home Affairs Bureau replied at that time that there is no agreed definition of ‘online media’ among the industry, and citing venue capacity and security requirements as reasons for rejecting online media and only allowing media/journalists from traditional media.”

“My follow-up questions and request for meeting with Information Services Department and other departments went ignored,”  he added.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.