A press group in Hong Kong has called on the police to “maintain professionalism” while on duty, after a journalist was reportedly pushed by an officer while filming outside a courthouse.

Ming Pao police District Court
Two police officers allegedly pushed a Ming Pao journalist who was filming prosecutor Laura Ng when she left the District Court on March 17, 2023. Photo: Ming Pao video screenshot.

Police officers should avoid causing “unnecessary inconvenience” to journalists when they are conducting reporting, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said in a statement issued on Saturday,

The press group’s remarks came a day after local newspaper Ming Pao reported that its journalist was pushed away by a police officer twice outside the District Court on Friday.

The reporter was said to be filming public prosecutor Laura Ng as she was leaving the courthouse in Wan Chai. She was in court on Friday for the trial hearing of two former top Stand News editors, who stand accused of conspiring to publish seditious material along with the parent company of the now-defunct news outlet.

According to Ming Pao, the prosecutor was escorted by a group of police officers, including the ones handling the Stand News sedition case. One officer pushed the Ming Pao journalist twice and shouted Cantonese profanity, before leaving in a seven-seater vehicle, footage from the newspaper appeared to show.

Laura Ng Stand News
Laura Ng, lead prosecutor of the Stand News sedition case, leaves the District Court on March 17, 2023. Photo: HKFP.

According to the HKJA, only two journalists were present at the scene to take photos of Ng, which the union said was an act of “normal reporting” and the position of the Ming Pao journalist “should not have caused obstruction.”

“The HKJA urges the police to adopt a professional attitude while working and avoid causing unnecessary inconvenience, physical confrontation and impact on journalists who are conducting reporting,” a statement from the association read.

In response to Ming Pao’s enquiries, police said they allocated “appropriate manpower” to maintain order at the District Court on Friday. They would remind officers to “pay attention to personal conduct” and “enhance sensitivity to professionalism” in order to maintain the Force’s professional image, the Force said.

Police also urged journalists to be professional and avoid causing inconvenience to others when they conduct reporting, adding the Force would offer assistance to the media under the premise that it would not affect the efficiency of their operations.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.