Hundreds of journalists and their supporters marched to police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s office on Sunday, urging the authorities to respect press freedom.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) July 14, 2019
“During the recent series of protests, journalists were unjustifiably dispersed, pushed away, verbally insulted, or even beaten by batons, [and] shot by bean bag rounds by police officers [on] a number of occasions,” a statement from the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said.
The rally began at 10.30am in Harcourt Garden, Admiralty. Media staffers, mostly clad in black, marched silently to the Wan Chai police base with a giant banner reader “Stop police violence, defend press freedom.”
“We are running out of tolerance and patience,” HKJA chair Chris Yeung told HKFP. “We are speaking up and voicing our concerns and, in fact, anger over the police handling of journalists reporting [on] protests over the past few weeks.”
He said the HKJA had received scores of complaints of verbal abuse and physical interactions between police and reporters. “Apparently they targetted journalists when firing tear gas… totally unacceptable,” he added.
Protesters urged Lam to honour the Pledge to Uphold Press Freedom she signed during the 2017 chief executive election.
However, when the group arrived at her office, no representative attended to receive their letter.
“We hope the Chief Executive and top police management will give clear and firm response, not to ignore our clear and simple demands,” the statement said.
Organisers included the HKJA, the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, the Independent Commentators Association, Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, the Ming Pao Staff Association, Next Media Trade Union and RTHK Programme Staff Union. HKFP staff also marched with the rally.