The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticised China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) for failing to grant accreditation to several Hong Kong journalists and media outlets.

In a statement issued on Friday, the press freedom watchdog urged the NPC to “ensure fair and transparent accreditation for journalists for the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of the Republic of China.”

National People's Congress npc beijing great hall
File Photo: Lukas Messmer/HKFP.

It noted that, as of Friday, journalists from Ming Pao, Cable Television and the South China Morning Post have not been granted accreditation. No clear reason had been provided and it is uncertain when they will find out whether they will have access.

The federation also noted that Apple Daily and HK01 had yet to acquire any press accreditation at all.

“The IFJ is calling on the NPC to ensure the accreditation process is transparent, and provide details about the delays in the outstanding applications,” it said. “It is unacceptable that journalists are not been granted their accreditation, despite being government-accredited journalists in China.”

National People's Congress npc beijing great hall
The Great Hall. Photo: Lukas Messmer/HKFP.

Two new rules have also been implemented, the first of which limits the number of journalists that can cover the event, in addition to requiring that their names must be submitted beforehand.

The second rule requires foreign journalists to submit interview application forms in advance before interviews will be granted.

“It will weaken the ability of foreign journalists to freely report and cover the National Congress,” the IFJ said, urging that the two new rules be withdrawn.

The 19th National Congress is scheduled to convene on October 18 in Beijing.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.